A study conducted in New Zealand, on whether there was an increased risk of perinatal mortality when women were booked with a community lead maternity carer (LMC) in their first year of practice, found that the length of time in midwifery practice does not impact the risk of perinatal mortality.
The study’s participants were women under the community LMC midwifery care birthing between 2008 and 2014, excluding terminations and deaths associated with congenital abnormalities.
The research results have disproved findings of a similar study (Lawton et al), published in 2015, which reported an increased risk of perinatal mortality in New Zealand, between 2005 and 2009, for pregnancies cared for by community LMC midwives within 1 year of Midwifery Council registration.
The latest study’s unadjusted analysis shows a significant reduction in the odds of perinatal mortality among women under the care of midwives beyond the first year of practice in comparison to those within the first year of practice (perinatal mortality rates 5.85/1,000 births and 7.42/1,000 births respectively).
However, after adjusting for known potential confounders, the reduction in risk became “statistically insignificant”.
Commenting on the research, New Zealand College of Midwives said: “Research confirms midwifery care by graduates in New Zealand is excellent. The New Zealand College of Midwives has welcomed the publication of a paper which shows outcomes for pregnant women registered with a graduate midwife (in their first year of practice) are as good as those for women registered with more experienced midwives.
“The research commissioned by the Ministry of Health and undertaken by Lynn Sadler and her research team explored perinatal mortality and found that first year of midwifery practice was not associated with an increased risk of perinatal death.”
The research ‘Risk of perinatal mortality in the first year of midwifery practice in New Zealand: analysis of a retrospective national cohort’ is Open Access and can be viewed here.
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