Economic burden of hospitalizations for preterm labor in the United States

Wanda K. Nicholson, Kevin D. Frick, Neil R. Powe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine patient factors associated with hospital care costs for preterm labor and to develop a clinically applicable cost model for evaluating economic consequences of interventions to reduce preterm-labor hospitalizations. Methods: Maryland state hospital discharge data from 1993-1996 were used to identify hospitalizations for preterm labor without delivery and preterm labor with early delivery. Median regression was used to determine the association between patient factors and hospital care costs in Maryland and to develop a model to estimate hospital care costs nationally. National estimates of hospitalizations for preterm labor were from the 1994 National Hospital Discharge Survey. Results: During the 4-year study period, there were 25,104 hospitalizations for preterm labor, undelivered, and preterm labor with early delivery in Maryland. Maternal comorbidity, antenatal procedures, types of insurance, and lengths of stay associated significantly with hospital costs for preterm labor. National costs for preterm labor, undelivered, were more than $360 million. Incremental costs for preterm labor with early delivery, compared with term delivery, ranged from $21 million to $191 million. Total expenditures for preterm-labor hospitalization for the United States were estimated in excess of $820 million. Conclusion: Hospitalizations for preterm labor comprise a substantial portion of maternal cost of perinatal care in the United States. Maternal comorbidity and procedures account for major differences in costs per admission. Strategies to reduce hospitalizations for preterm labor should focus on economic and clinical outcomes in evaluating their overall values. Copyright (C) 2000 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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