Obstetrician and Nurse–Midwife Collaboration: Successful Public Health and Private Practice Partnership : Obstetrics & Gynecology

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Original Research

Obstetrician and Nurse–Midwife Collaboration

Successful Public Health and Private Practice Partnership

Shaw-Battista, Jenna CNM, PhD; Fineberg, Annette MD; Boehler, Barbara CNM; Skubic, Blanche CNM; Woolley, Deborah CNM, PhD; Tilton, Zoe MD

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Obstetrics & Gynecology 118(3):p 663-672, September 2011. | DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31822ac86f


To evaluate maternal and neonatal outcomes of collaborative maternity care for a socioeconomically diverse patient population in a California community hospital.


Collaborative practice structure and clinical guidelines were analyzed, as were de-identified electronic medical records for all primiparous women who delivered term singletons between 2000 and 2010 (N=4,426). Demographics, care processes, and perinatal outcomes were compared among women seen prenatally in a private collaborative practice compared with a Federally Qualified Health Center prenatal clinic run by nurse–midwives.


Evidence-based practices were used to achieve excellent perinatal outcomes. Three quarters of women received intrapartum nurse–midwifery care (74.4%). Few differences were seen in management or outcomes among women from different prenatal clinics despite significant variation in demographic and clinical characteristics. Private practice patients were older, less likely to be obese, and more likely to speak English compared with counterparts from public health clinics. They were also more likely to use hydrotherapy or epidural analgesia, or experience severe perineal laceration and repair. Overall, pharmacologic pain relief methods were limited: less than a quarter of primiparous women used narcotics (21.2%), epidural analgesia (23.7%), or warm water immersion (23.2%). Labor induction and augmentation, and cesarean delivery rates (12.5%), were similar among groups and low overall.


A collaborative practice of low-tech, high-touch care results in high-quality maternity services. The care model holds promise for replication to address health disparities by limiting obstetric interventions and warrants further investigation with regard to associated costs and resultant outcomes.



© 2011 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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