News > Improving birth outcomes for women who are substance using or have mental illness

Improving birth outcomes for women who are substance using or have mental illness

posted on August 22, 2019
A study comparing birth outcomes for midwives' versus physicians' patients who were substance using or had mental health conditions was published in the BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth publication. Click here to view the study.
 
The study found that low-income women with low to moderate risk pregnancy were not as likely to have a preterm birth or small-for-gestational age baby if they received antenatal midwifery versus physician care. In this study the researchers wanted to know if this finding was applicable to women who were substance using or had mental health conditions. Researchers found that women who were substance using and those who were substance using and had mental health conditions fared even better in the care of midwives compared to obstetricians, than women without these psychosocial vulnerabilities.   
  • Substance using midwifery clients were 76% less likely to have premature babies than obstetrician patients, whereas non-substance users were 45% less likely.
  • For midwives’ clients with both mental illness and substance use there was an 82% reduction in preterm birth compared to obstetricians’ patients, and a 48% reduction for women with neither mental illness nor substance use.
The significantly greater improvement in rates of preterm birth for midwifery clients with mental illness and/or substance use compared to similar obstetrician patients suggests that midwifery care may be an especially suitable model for these women.   
 
 
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