More traumatic births in private hospitals

In a retrospective cohort study of 691,738 low-risk singleton births in public and private hospitals to women aged 20–34 in NSW between 2000 and 2008, researchers from the University of Western Sydney found that the rates of obstetric intervention were higher in private hospitals. 

Some 32% of low-risk nulliparous women underwent induction without a medical indication in the private system compared to 10% of matched women in the public system. 

Babies in the private system were more likely to be delivered by vacuum or forceps and were more likely to experience trauma to the scalp (3.22% versus 2.22%) and jaundice (4.68% versus 2.89%).

Lead author Professor Hannah Dahlen, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Western Sydney, said that as women were more likely to ask for an epidural after an induction, there was an association between rates of induction and assisted births.

“If a medically