Media contacts:
Tia Webster, 404-727-5692,
Kathi Ovnic, 404-727-9371,
Janet Christenbury, 404-727-8599,
July 1, 2002


Emory Center On Health Outcomes and Quality Measures Rate of Hospitalizations During Pregnancy

Emory researchers have concluded that nearly nine percent of women are hospitalized during their pregnancy with the majority of hospitalizations more common among younger women, women with multiple gestations, and women in the Northeastern United States. The findings will be published in the July 1 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Researchers at the Emory Center on Health Outcomes and Quality, formerly the USQA Center for Health Care Research (TM), analyzed data from a national managed care organization using information gathered from 46,179 pregnant women who had a live birth or pregnancy loss. Overall, of this data sample 8.7 percent of the women were hospitalized during their pregnancy.

The study showed the primary causes for hospitalizations to be hypertension, hyperemesis (nausea), premature rupture of membranes, and preterm labor. Costs for the hospitalizations for the managed care enrollees analyzed in the study soared at over $36 million.

Julie A. Gazmararian, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, was lead investigator for the study. She and her colleagues suggested a number of methods to help reduce the occurrence of pregnancy-related hospitalizations. "Certain conditions, such as hypertension, may be treated more effectively in an outpatient setting," Dr. Gazmararian says. "The women are often hospitalized because people are more cautious because of their pregnant state."

Dr. Gazmararian also urges expanded patient education, an area, she says that has a clear need for more studies. "If high risk patients are educated more on certain warning signs and certain conditions, they can prevent hospitalization."

The team of researchers recommends improved screenings and more targeted provider and patient monitoring for at risk groups to reduce the occurrence of hospitalizations prior to childbirth.

"Further study of antenatal hospitalizations may identify specific reasons for these hospitalizations, determine whether they can be prevented, and ultimately meet our goal of decreasing maternal and fetal morbidity," Dr. Gazmararian concluded.

The study is the first of its kind to use data from a large national managed care population to monitor inpatient care received by women during their pregnancies. Consequently, the study does not include uninsured and other vulnerable populations. The study was funded in part by Aetna. The opinions expressed and conclusions reached are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Aetna.

In November 2001, the USQA Center for Health Care Research (TM), a division of U.S. Quality Algorithms, Inc., the health informatics subsidiary of Aetna Inc., moved to Emory where it became the cornerstorne of the Emory Center of Health Outcomes and Quality.

The Emory Center on Health Outcomes and Quality, a multi-school, multi-disciplinary group within The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, was created to conduct outcomes-based research that includes assessing and improving methods for measuring quality of care and designing interventions to improve health outcomes. In addition to research, the Center focuses on education by offering a long-distance Master of Public Health degree in outcomes research. It works with consumers, physicians and insurers to evaluate and implement new approaches for improving quality of care.


Return to July Index

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center
call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686,
or send e-mail to

Copyright © Emory University, 2001. All Rights Reserved.