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Childbirth and Depression Are Leading Reasons for Hospitalization of Younger Women

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Press Release Date: December 18, 2002

A new women's health care fact book from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that pregnancy and childbirth accounted for 4.4 million hospital admissions in 2000, or one of every four hospital stays, and that depression was the second leading reason for the hospitalization of younger women.

Approximately 205,000 hospital stays for women between the ages of 18 and 44 were associated with treatment of depression in 2000, the latest year for which data are available. Physicians generally hospitalize women with more severe cases of depression, and many more women are treated for depression on an outpatient basis.

Other leading reasons for admitting younger women to the hospital include:

  • Fibroids of the uterus (139,000 admissions in 2000).
  • Gallbladder disease (117,000 admissions).
  • Back problems (85,000 admissions).
  • Asthma (70,000 admissions).

Among women older than 44, pneumonia and heart problems are among the top reasons for hospitalizations. Treatment for hip fractures and hip replacements are among the top 10 reasons why women older than 80 are hospitalized.

These statistics are from Care of Women in U.S. Hospitals, 2000, a fact book that includes a wealth of data on why women of different ages are hospitalized, what happens to them in the hospital, what hospitals charge for their care, and who pays the bill.

The report is based on data from AHRQ's Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a powerful database that is part of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. It provides national estimates based on a sample of approximately 1,000 hospitals and 7 million hospital discharges. The new fact book is the third in a series of AHRQ publications that provides detailed statistical information on different aspects of hospital care.

To obtain a copy of the fact book, call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or send an E-mail to ( The publication also is available online at For information on how to search for specific data online or to arrange for an interview with an AHRQ expert, contact Farah Englert in AHRQ's Public Affairs Office at (301) 427-1865 or

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Farah Englert, (301) 427-1865 (; Bob Isquith, (301) 427-1539 (


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