To assess the association of the gender of the delivering physician and the odds of performing cesarean delivery.
CINAHL, ClinicalTrials.gov, Cochrane Library, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science from the first year of records through May 2020.
METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION:
We included studies that reported odds ratios (OR), or data allowing the calculation of ORs, for cesarean delivery performed by female and male delivering physicians. We also included studies that reported the preference of physicians for performing cesarean deliveries.
TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS:
Independent data extraction was carried out by at least two researchers. Standard inverse-variance random effects meta-analysis was used to generate overall ORs. Finally, in two separate meta-analyses, we analyzed 15 studies containing clinical data for 1,269,625 births, and 11 studies containing data for the preference for delivery mode of 4,911 obstetricians. Both the crude and adjusted odds of a cesarean delivery were lower for those performed by female physicians (crude OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.68–0.84, τ2=0.029, adjusted OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.65–0.85, τ2=0.031). We also found that female physicians had a lower preference for cesarean delivery in both crude and adjusted analysis (crude OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.36–0.96, I2=77%, adjusted OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.40–0.84, I2=67%).
Female physicians are less likely to perform cesarean delivery and less likely to prefer it. This was observed across different health systems and populations.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: