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Childbirth and Deliveries Are Becoming More Complicated

AHRQ News and Numbers, October 1, 2009

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

The number of hospital stays for women who had a normal or uncomplicated birth decreased by 43 percent between 1997 and 2007—from 544,000 to 312,000 stays, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Overall, the number of hospitals stays for childbirth increased 16 percent from 4.3 million to 5 million during the period.

The Federal study also found an increase in stays for women who had:

  • A previous cesarean section—107 percent (271,000 to 562,000).
  • High blood pressure that complicated their pregnancy or childbirth—28 percent (185,000 to 235,000).
  • Perineal trauma during childbirth—22 percent (713,000 to 868,000).

In contrast, stays for women who had umbilical cord complications fell 15 percent (259,000 to 219,000).

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data from page 30 in HCUP Facts and Figures 2007, which provides highlights of the latest data from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The report provides data on leading reasons for hospitalization, such as arthritis, asthma, childbirth, cancer, diabetes, depression, and heart conditions, on procedures performed on hospital patients, and on related topics.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of October 2009
Internet Citation: Childbirth and Deliveries Are Becoming More Complicated: AHRQ News and Numbers, October 1, 2009. October 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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