Labor Induction Rate Variation in Upstate New York: What Is the Difference?


  • J. Christopher Glantz MD MPH

    1. Christopher Glantz is in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York.
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  • This project was supported by grant #C-015841 from the New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York.

Chris Glantz, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Ave., Box 668, Rochester, NY 14642.


Abstract: Background: Labor induction rates in the United States rose from 9.0 percent in 1989 to 20.5 percent in 2001, but reasons for the increase are poorly defined. A birth database from a region of upstate New York, including 31,352 deliveries from 1998 through 1999, was used to determine the degree of variation of labor induction rates among hospitals and practitioners.

Methods: Total and elective labor induction rates were calculated for 16 hospitals and individual staff, and then evaluated using chi-square testing and regression.

Results: Using all laboring women as the denominator, the regional labor induction rate was 20.8 percent; of these inductions, 25 percent had no apparent medical indication. Total induction rates and percent of elective inductions that were elective varied significantly among hospitals (10%–39% and 12%–55%, respectively, p < 0.0001) and among practitioners within hospitals (7%–48% and 3%–76%, respectively, p < 0.0001). Hospitals varied in size, risk status, and cesarean section rates, but these factors did not correlate with induction rates.

Conclusions: Labor induction rates are highly variable among and within hospitals. Delivery volume, population risk status, and differences in cesarean section rates did not explain this variation. (BIRTH 30:3 September 2003)