Hospital Costs Associated with Stillbirth Delivery
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Fetal deaths account for nearly one percent of all births in the United States. The cost of hospital care associated with fetal deaths may be substantial. However, there is very limited data on the economic burden of fetal death. We conducted a retrospective medical chart review of stillbirths at three large hospitals in Michigan over a ten-year period and identified medical complications, hospital costs, and length of stay for these deliveries. Mothers with stillbirth were matched with mothers of the same age who delivered a live-born infant at the same hospital during the same year. Our final sample was comprised of 533 stillbirths and 1,053 matched live births. Average hospital cost for stillbirth was $7,495 (±7,015) and the average length of stay was 2.8 days (±2.8). Having a serious maternal medical complication was associated with higher costs and longer length of stay among women with stillbirth. Early stillbirths between 20 and 28 weeks gestational age, epidural/spinal/general anesthesia, and cesarean delivery were also associated with longer length of stay. Average hospital costs for women with stillbirth were more than $750 higher than women with live births but length of stay was not significantly different between the two. This study suggests that stillbirths were associated with substantial maternal hospital costs. Future research examining the economic impact of stillbirths beyond labor and delivery such as increased costs associated with additional testing and care in subsequent pregnancies will help better understand the overall economic impact of stillbirths.
KeywordsFetal death Hospital costs Length of stay Obstetrics Stillbirth
Salary support for the first author came from the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and the National Institutes of Health (K-12, K23). Additional project support was provided by Angel Names Association. No funder had a role in design and conduct of the study, analysis, preparation of results, or approval of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
None of the authors has any financial or other conflict of interest to declare.
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