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Association Between Utilization of Digital Prenatal Services and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

HumanInsight Association Between Utilization of Digital Prenatal Services and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2023 Jan 19. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.13467. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Digital health services are a promising but understudied method for reducing common barriers to vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), including connection to facilities offering labor after cesarean and patient-centered counseling about mode of birth. This study assesses the relationship between use of digital prenatal services and VBAC.

METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we analyzed the use of digital prenatal services and mode of birth among users of an employer-sponsored digital women's and family digital health platform. All users had a prior cesarean birth. Users' self-reported data included demographics, medical history, and birth preferences. We used basic descriptive statistics and logistic regression models to assess the association between digital services utilization and VBAC, adjusting for key patient characteristics.

RESULTS: Of 271 included users, 44 (16.2%) had a VBAC and 227 (83.8%) had a cesarean birth. Users of both groups were similar in age, race, and ethnicity. Fewer users in the VBAC group (5/44, 11.4%) as compared with the cesarean birth group (62/227, 27.3%) had a prepregnancy body mass index greater than or equal to 30 (P = 0.02). Likewise, more users in the VBAC group preferred vaginal birth (34/44, 77.3% vs 55/227, 24.2%; P < 0.01). In adjusted models, the services associated with VBAC were care advocate appointments (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 7.67; 95% CI, 1.99-54.4), health care provider appointments (aOR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.02-1.25), and resource reads (aOR, 1.05, 95% CI, 1.00-1.09). VBAC rates were higher for users who reported the digital health platform influenced aspects of their pregnancy and birth.

DISCUSSION: Reducing cesarean birth rates is a national priority. Digital health services, particularly care coordination and education, are promising for accomplishing this goal through increasing rates of trial of labor after cesarean and subsequent VBAC rates.

PMID:36655813 | DOI:10.1111/jmwh.13467

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