BACKGROUND: The variability in resources for managing critical events among maternity hospitals may impact maternal safety. Our main objective was to assess the risk of postpartum maternal death according to hospitals’ organizational characteristics. A secondary objective aimed to assess the specific risk of death due to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH).
METHODS: This national population-based case–control study included all 2007–2009 postpartum maternal deaths from the national confidential enquiry (n= 147 cases) and a 2010 national representative sample of parturients (n = 14,639 controls). To adjust for referral bias, cases were classified by time when the condition/complication responsible for the death occurred: postpartum maternal deaths due to conditions present before delivery (n = 66) or during or after delivery (n = 81). Characteristics of delivery hospitals included 24/7 on-site availability of an anesthesiologist and an obstetrician, level of perinatal care, number of deliveries annually, and their teaching and profit status. In teaching and other nonprofit hospitals in France, obstetric care is organized on the principle of collective team-based management, while in for-profit hospitals, this organization is based mostly on that of “one woman–one doctor.” Logistic regression models were used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for postpartum maternal death.
RESULTS: The risk of maternal death from prepartum conditions was lower for women who gave birth in for-profit compared with teaching hospitals (aOR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1–0.8; p = .02) and in hospitals with <1500 vs ≥1500 annual deliveries (aOR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.1–0.9; P = .02). Conversely, the risk of postpartum maternal death from complications occurring during or after delivery was higher for women who delivered in for-profit compared with teaching hospitals (aOR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.3–6.0; P = .009), as was the risk of death from PPH in for-profit versus nonprofit hospitals (aOR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.2–6.5; P = .019).
CONCLUSIONS: After adjustment for the referral bias related to prepartum morbidity, the risk of postpartum maternal mortality in France differs according to the hospital’s organizational characteristics.