BackgroundCaesarean section is recommended in situations in which vaginal birth presents a greater likelihood of adverse maternal or perinatal outcomes than normal. However, it is associated with a higher risk of complications, especially when performed without a clear medical indication. Since labour attendants have no standardised clinical method to assist in this decision, statistical tools developed based on multiple labour variables may be an alternative. The objective of this paper was to develop and evaluate the accuracy of models for caesarean section prediction using maternal and foetal characteristics collected at admission and through labour.
MethodThis is a secondary analysis of the World Health Organization's Better Outcomes in Labour Difficulty prospective cohort study in two sub-Saharan African countries. Data were collected from women admitted for labour and childbirth in 13 hospitals in Nigeria as well as Uganda between 2014 and 2015. We applied logistic regression to develop different models to predict caesarean section, based on the time when intrapartum assessment was made. To evaluate discriminatory capacity of the various models, we calculated: area under the curve, diagnostic accuracy, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, sensitivity and specificity.
ResultsA total of 8957 pregnant women with 12.67% of caesarean births were used for model development. The model based on labour admission characteristics showed an area under the curve of 78.70%, sensitivity of 63.20%, specificity of 78.68% and accuracy of 76.62%. On the other hand, the models that applied intrapartum assessments performed better, with an area under the curve of 93.66%, sensitivity of 80.12%, specificity of 89.26% and accuracy of 88.03%.
ConclusionIt is possible to predict the likelihood of intrapartum caesarean section with high accuracy based on labour characteristics and events. However, the accuracy of this prediction is considerably higher when based on information obtained throughout the course of labour.
SUBMITTER: de Souza HCC