Background: Although cesarean section is known to be associated with higher hospital charges than vaginal delivery, cost comparisons require further investigation. This study compared maternal hospital charges of women with one previous cesarean section undergoing a trial of labor with the charges of women who underwent an elective repeat cesarean section. Hospital charges for the trial of labor group were also compared with charges of women with a previous vaginal delivery but no previous cesarean section. Methods: A retrospective analysis of three primiparous privately insured patient groups who gave birth from July 1992 to October 1993 was conducted. Hospital charges for 50 primiparas with previous cesarean births who underwent a trial of labor were compared with those of 50 contemporaneous primiparas who underwent elective repeat cesarean section, and with those of 50 primiparas without a past history of cesarean birth. Results: Trial of labor was associated with a mean maternal hospital charge of $5820 ± $1609 compared with $6785 ± $771 for elective repeat cesarean section (p < 0.001). Trial of labor was also associated with a decreased length of stay when compared with elective cesarean section (2.48 ± 0.88 days vs 3.62 ± 0.57 days, p < 0.001). The difference in charges between these two groups was primarily due to charges associated with length of stay and the operating room, but was partly offset by charges associated with labor. The group of women without a past history of cesarean birth had a mean maternal hospital charge of $4685 ± $966 and a mean length of stay of 1.96 ± 0.63 days. Conclusions: Trial of labor is associated with an overall 14 percent reduction in maternal hospital charges and a 31 percent reduction in length of stay compared with elective repeat cesarean section. (BIRTH 25:2 June 1998).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology