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Keywords:

  • birth center;
  • cohort study;
  • data collection;
  • home childbirth;
  • midwifery;
  • parturition;
  • registry;
  • research design

Introduction

In 2004, the Midwives Alliance of North America's (MANA's) Division of Research developed a Web-based data collection system to gather information on the practices and outcomes associated with midwife-led births in the United States. This system, called the MANA Statistics Project (MANA Stats), grew out of a widely acknowledged need for more reliable data on outcomes by intended place of birth. This article describes the history and development of the MANA Stats birth registry and provides an analysis of the 2.0 dataset's content, strengths, and limitations.

Methods

Data collection and review procedures for the MANA Stats 2.0 dataset are described, along with methods for the assessment of data accuracy. We calculated descriptive statistics for client demographics and contributing midwife credentials, and assessed the quality of data by calculating point estimates, 95% confidence intervals, and kappa statistics for key outcomes on pre- and postreview samples of records.

Results

The MANA Stats 2.0 dataset (2004-2009) contains 24,848 courses of care, 20,893 of which are for women who planned a home or birth center birth at the onset of labor. The majority of these records were planned home births (81%). Births were attended primarily by certified professional midwives (73%), and clients were largely white (92%), married (87%), and college-educated (49%). Data quality analyses of 9932 records revealed no differences between pre- and postreviewed samples for 7 key benchmarking variables (kappa, 0.98-1.00).

Discussion

The MANA Stats 2.0 data were accurately entered by participants; any errors in this dataset are likely random and not systematic. The primary limitation of the 2.0 dataset is that the sample was captured through voluntary participation; thus, it may not accurately reflect population-based outcomes. The dataset's primary strength is that it will allow for the examination of research questions on normal physiologic birth and midwife-led birth outcomes by intended place of birth.