Pregnant women frequently ask their physician "will you be delivering my baby"" Dr. Haim A. Abenhaim MPH and co-authors wanted to determine whether obstetric outcomes differed between women whose babies were delivered by their own obstetrician and those attended by an on-call obstetrician who did not provide antenatal care. They performed a cohort study of all live single term births between 1991 and 2001 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal. In all, there were 28,332 eligible deliveries attended by 26 obstetricians; 21,779 (76.9%) of the women were attended by their own obstetrician and 6,553 were attended by an on-call obstetrician. The authors noted a small but significant increase (11.4% v. 11.9%) in the rate of cesarean deliveries when women are cared for by an on-call obstetrician rather than their regular-care obstetrician.
In a related commentary, Dr. Chaim M. Bell PhD and Dr. Joel G. Ray MSc, highlight the importance of ensuring smooth hand-offs of patient care between physicians.