While women report greater satisfaction with day care rather than ward care for antenatal complications, day care provides no cost advantage, according to a recent randomized trial.
Researchers included 395 women with diagnoses of either non-proteinuric hypertension, proteinuric hypertension, or preterm premature rupture of membranes and provided either day care or standard care on an antenatal hospital ward.
While the total duration of antenatal care episodes and overall stay were shorter in the day care group, the researchers found no differences between the two groups in terms of antenatal tests, investigations, or intrapartum interventions performed, in maternal or perinatal outcomes, or in either average cost per patient or average cost per day of care. The researchers concluded that perhaps the choice should be left to the individual patient.
Turnbull DA, Wilkinson C, Gerard K, et al. Clinical, psychosocial, and economic effects of antenatal day care for three medical complications of pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial of 395 women. Lancet. 2004;363:1104-1109.