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Are operative vaginal delivery discharge instructions needed?

Nulliparous women and those who underwent operative vaginal delivery were most likely to have postdischarge questions when contacted through an automated call


In order to identify the prevalence of concerns among postpartum women and the factors associated with them, the University of California–San Francisco (UCSF) began calling all of its obstetric patients through an automated phone call within 72 hours after hospital discharge.

Study details

All postpartum women from March to June 2017 were contacted after discharge via an automated call. Calls were considered successful if the woman engaged with the automated system; those who reported concerns were contacted by a nurse. UCSF researchers compared call success and presence of concerns by mode of delivery, insurance type (public or private), parity, pregnancy complication (diabetes, hypertension, hemorrhage), and neonatal intensive care (ICN) admission using univariate analyses and multivariable logistic regression.

A total of 881 women were called, and 730 (83%) were successfully contacted (meaning they engaged with the automated system through to the end of the call). About one-third of women (224 / 29%) reported a concern. Women with operative vaginal delivery were more likely to report an issue than spontaneous vaginal and cesarean delivery (42% vs 28%; P = .04). Nulliparous women also were more likely to report an issue (32% vs 25%; P = .05). They also were more likely to answer the call (86% vs 79%; P = .004). Women with public insurance were less likely to be successfully contacted (68% vs 84%; P = .003), but the frequency of concerns were equivalent (28% vs 29%). Women with neonates in the ICN were less likely to be successfully contacted. When controlling for confounders, nulliparity (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–2.2) and private insurance (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1–3.8) both were independently associated with successful contact.

What do the results mean for practice?

Nulliparous women and women with operative vaginal deliveries may benefit from additional discharge support, concluded the researchers. “For most patients we can’t predict in advance if they will have an operative vaginal delivery but I do think that we could do more counseling in the antepartum period about different options or mode of delivery and include operative vaginal deliveries in that bucket, especially as we are doing more of them,” said Dr. Molly Siegel, Resident at UCSF. “In the postpartum period we probably should be thinking more about our instructions to those patients because we have cesarean delivery and vaginal delivery discharge instructions, and I think there needs to be something specific for operative vaginal delivery. Ultimately the goal is to improve our counseling of patients so that they don’t have as many questions after they leave the hospital.”

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