In 2015, a quality improvement (QI) intervention to reduce cesarean sections (CS)—the Adequate Childbirth Project (PPA)—was implemented in the private sector in Brazil. This analysis aims to compare safety care measures and adverse outcomes between women exposed to the PPA intervention to those receiving standard care.
The analysis included a convenience sample of 12 private hospitals that participated in the PPA (2017–2018). Data collection was performed through chart review and interviews. Differences in 15 outcomes were examined using Pearson’s chi-square test and multiple logistic regressions.
The final weighted sample was comprised of 4789 births, 2570 in the PPA group (53.5%) and 2227 in the standard care group (46.5%). CS rate was significantly lower in the PPA group (67.3% vs 88.8%). After adjusting for potential confounders, PPA model was associated with decreased overall CS rate (OR = 0.30, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.36), as well as prelabor (OR = 0.41, 0.34 to 0.48) and repeated CS (OR = 0.45, 0.29 to 0.70). In terms of other safety care measures, women in the PPA model had an increased chance of absence of antibiotic prophylaxis in Group B Streptococcus (GBS) + women (OR = 4.63, 1.33 to 16.14) and for CSs (OR = 1.75, 1.38 to 2.22), while those with severe hypertension were less likely to not receiving magnesium sulphate (OR = 0.27, 0.09 to 0.77). Regarding obstetric and neonatal outcomes, PPA model was associated with a decreased chance of having an obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASI) following an episiotomy (OR = 0.34, 0.13 to 0.89), requiring antibiotics other than routine prophylaxis (OR = 0.84, 0.70 to 0.99), having a late preterm (OR = 0.36, 0.27 to 0.48) or early term baby (OR = 0.81, 0.70 to 0.94). There were no statistically significant differences for other outcomes.
The PPA intervention was able to reduce CS rates, late preterm and early term deliveries without increasing the chance of adverse outcomes. The bidirectional effect on safety care measures reinforces that QI initiatives includes closer observation of routine care when implementing interventions to reduce C-section rates.