Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 1455–1467

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Maternal Morbidities: A Statewide Study of Labor and Delivery Hospitalizations in Wisconsin

  • Erwin T. Cabacungan
  • Emmanuel M. Ngui
  • Emily L. McGinley

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-011-0914-6

Cite this article as:
Cabacungan, E.T., Ngui, E.M. & McGinley, E.L. Matern Child Health J (2012) 16: 1455. doi:10.1007/s10995-011-0914-6


We examined racial/ethnic disparities in maternal morbidities (MM) and the number of MM during labor and delivery among hospital discharges in Wisconsin. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of hospital discharge data for 206,428 pregnant women aged 13–53 years using 2005–2007 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Dataset (HCUP-SID) for Wisconsin. After adjustments for covariates, MM (preterm labor, antepartum and postpartum hemorrhage, hypertension in pregnancy, gestational diabetes, membrane-related disorders, infections and 3rd and 4th perineal lacerations) were examined using logistic regression models, and number of MM (0, 1, 2, >2 MM) were examined using multivariable ordered logistic regressions with partial proportional odds models. African–Americans had significantly higher likelihood of infections (OR = 1.74; 95% CI 1.60–1.89), preterm labor (OR = 1.42; 1.33–1.50), antepartum hemorrhage (OR = 1.63; 1.44–1.83), and hypertension complicating pregnancy (OR = 1.39; 1.31–1.48) compared to Whites. Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans had significantly higher likelihood of infections, postpartum hemorrhage, and gestational diabetes than Whites. Major perineal lacerations were significantly higher among Asian/Pacific Islanders (OR = 1.53; 1.34–1.75). All minority racial/ethnic groups, except Asians, had significantly higher likelihood of having 0 versus 1, 2 or >2 MM, 0 or 1 versus 2 or >2 MM, and 0, 1 or 2 versus >2 MM than white women. Findings show significant racial/ethnic disparities in MM, and suggest the need for better screening, management, and timely referral of these conditions, particularly among racial/ethnic women. Disparities in MM may be contributing to the high infant mortality and adverse birth outcomes among different racial/ethnic groups in Wisconsin.


DisparitiesRaceEthnicityMaternal morbiditiesLabor and delivery hospitalizations

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erwin T. Cabacungan
    • 1
  • Emmanuel M. Ngui
    • 2
  • Emily L. McGinley
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Joseph J. Zilber School of Public HealthUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.Center for Patient Care and Outcomes ResearchMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA