In Ireland, all expectant mothers are entitled to free maternity care, covering antenatal visits, labour, delivery and postnatal care.
This study presents findings from the first wave of data collection from the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal cohort study. The sample of 11,134 nine month old infants was randomly selected from the national Child Benefit Register. From those, data from 10,912 mothers who provided valid answers to questions regarding antenatal care was included in the analyses. Data collection consisted of questionnaires completed with the mother addressing pregnancy, delivery and infant's health. Pearson's Chi Square tests and crude and adjusted logistic regression analyses were used for the analysis which was based on statistically reweighted data to represent the population structure of Ireland.
Shared care (between GP and other health professional) was provided in 77.9% [95% CI: 77.1-78.7%], private consultant care alone in 12.4% [11.8-13.0%], hospital clinic care alone in 7.3% [6.8-7.8%] and other care in 2.4%. The chance for a normal delivery was highest if shared care was provided (adjusted for parity, maternal age, occupational household class and medical cared coverage) with an odds ratio of 1.21 [1.10-1.33; p<0.001] when compared to other form of antenatal care.
In line with the NICE clinical guideline regarding antenatal care, our results emphasise that Midwife- and GP-led models of care should be offered to women with an uncomplicated pregnancy.
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