Childbirth complications boost hospital costs 20%, report finds 

Hospitals could lower childbirth costs by at least 20 percent by addressing serious complications linked to preventable harm and preexisting chronic conditions, according to a report from Premier.

For the report, researchers analyzed the cost of labor and delivery services for 8.9 million women between 2008 and 2018 using the Premier Healthcare Database. To assess cost differences based on complication type, Premier also examined hospital discharge data for 2.7 million maternal patients treated at 613 hospitals in 42 states between 2015 and 2018.

Four report findings:

1. On average, childbirth complications boost the cost of vaginal deliveries by 20 percent and cesarean sections by 25 percent.

2. Vaginal deliveries in which women experience a severe complication like heart failure or sepsis cost hospitals 88 percent more than deliveries without any complications. These complications also boost the average length of stay by 1.6 days.

3. C-sections that involve serious complications cost 111 percent more than typical C-sections and increase patients' average length of stay by 2.4 days.

4. Cardiac arrest was the most expensive complication, adding an average of $16,102 to the base cost of a typical vaginal delivery, which is $5,681.

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