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Inequity in postpartum healthcare provision at home and its association with subsequent healthcare expenditure

23 Apr 2019

AbstractBackgroundProvision of postpartum care can support new families in adapting to a new situation. We aimed to determine whether various determinants of socioeconomic status (SES) were associated with utilization of postpartum care. In addition, to stress the relevance of increasing postpartum care uptake among low SES-groups, an assessment of the potential (cost-)effectiveness of postpartum care is required.MethodsNational retrospective cohort study using linked routinely collected healthcare data from all registered singleton deliveries (2010–13) in the Netherlands. Small-for-gestational age and preterm babies were excluded. The associations between SES and postpartum care uptake, and between uptake and health care expenditure were studied using multivariable regression analyses.ResultsOf all 569 921 deliveries included, 1.2% did not receive postpartum care. Among women who did receive care, care duration was below the recommended minimum of 24 h in 15.3%. All indicators of low SES were independently associated with a lack in care uptake. Extremes of maternal age, single parenthood and being of non-Dutch origin were associated with reduced uptake independent of SES determinants. No uptake of postpartum care was associated with maternal healthcare expenses in the highest quartile: aOR 1.34 (95% CI 1.10–1.67). Uptake below the recommended amount was associated with higher maternal and infant healthcare expenses: aOR 1.09 (95% CI 1.03–1.18) and aOR 1.20 (95% CI 1.13–1.27), respectively.ConclusionAlthough uptake was generally high, low SES women less often received postpartum care, this being associated with higher subsequent healthcare expenses. Strategies to effectively reduce these substantial inequities in early life are urgently needed.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in European Journal of Public Health