AUSTIN, TEX. – This interview was conducted at the annual clinical and scientific meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It has been edited for length and clarity.
OB.GYN. NEWS: Here at ACOG, there were two studies from your research group at Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland, that examined the cost-effectiveness of pregnancy interventions using a “two-delivery” model. Could you explain a little more about what that is, and how you arrived at this model?
DR. CAUGHEY: We’ve been working on decision analytics and cost-effectiveness studies of a number of ways to approach pregnancy, whether it be complicated pregnancies or uncomplicated normal pregnancies.
One of the things that we think is really important to think about is the impact of management and outcomes in the current pregnancy, and how it might affect future pregnancies.
So, for example, if you have a vaginal delivery this time, that makes you multiparous with a prior vaginal delivery next time; that is kind of the goal in pregnancy. It just makes all future labor and delivery experiences so much easier. Whereas, if you have a prior C-section, we all know that now you’re high risk. Everybody gets nervous about you. Are you going to get a trial of labor? Can you find a hospital that will do a trial of labor? And there are all these downstream implications of the delivery in the first pregnancy.
If you think about it, there are a number of ways that we can manage the first pregnancy. There are a number of risk factors for increasing risk for cesarean delivery. And we can include those in models that are considered in downstream pregnancies. And so we’ve been doing that increasingly.
When we think about our vaginal birth after cesarean models, we had two presentations that considered that. One was how we manage the maternal position in labor, and the other was how we use doulas in labor. You think, well gosh, we’re spending money on this doula in this pregnancy – that’s a certain expenditure. Is it worth it?
Part of “Is it worth it?” is not just the current pregnancy, but the downstream pregnancy as well.