Study: High-tech interventions pushing up childbirth costs

A new study has concluded that many of the costly procedures used frequently in inpatient hospitalizations for childbirth may be adding costs without contributing much benefit. The study, from the Milbank Memorial Fund, Childbirth Connection and the Reforming States Group of government health policy officials, found that of the $86 billion in hospital charges for maternal and newborn care in 2006, more than $2.5 billion a year is spent on needless C-sections.

The groups are recommending that hospitals look at ways to reduce the use of expensive techniques like C-sections, which are used in almost a third of all deliveries. They're also advocating for greater use of childbirth assistants (doulas) at home, which they contend would improve maternal and child health while cutting costs.

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