BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (Oct 2022)

Impact of an educational program and decision tool on choice of maternity hospital: the delivery decisions randomized clinical trial

  • Ateev Mehrotra,
  • Adam Wolfberg,
  • Neel T. Shah,
  • Avery Plough,
  • Amber Weiseth,
  • Arianna I. Blaine,
  • Katie Noddin,
  • Carter H. Nakamoto,
  • Jessica V. Richard,
  • Dani Bradley

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
pp. 1 – 10


Read online

Abstract Background Reducing cesarean rates is a public health priority. To help pregnant people select hospitals with lower cesarean rates, numerous organizations publish publically hospital cesarean rate data. Few pregnant people use these data when deciding where to deliver. We sought to determine whether making cesarean rate data more accessible and understandable increases the likelihood of pregnant people selecting low-cesarean rate hospitals. Methods We conducted a 1:1 randomized controlled trial in 2019–2021 among users of a fertility and pregnancy mobile application. Eligible participants were trying to conceive for fewer than five months or were 28–104 days into their pregnancies. Of 189,456 participants approached and enrolled, 120,621 participants met entry criteria and were included in analyses. The intervention group was offered an educational program explaining the importance of hospital cesarean rates and an interactive tool presenting hospital cesarean rates as 1-to-5-star ratings. Control group users were offered an educational program about hospital choice and a hospital choice tool without cesarean rate data. The primary outcome was the star rating of the hospital selected by each patient during pregnancy. Secondary outcomes were the importance of cesarean rates in choosing a hospital and delivery method (post-hoc secondary outcome). Results Of 120,621 participants (mean [SD] age, 27.8 [7.9]), 12,284 (10.2%) reported their choice of hospital during pregnancy, with similar reporting rates in the intervention and control groups. Intervention group participants selected hospitals with higher star ratings (2.52 vs 2.16; difference, 0.37 [95% CI, 0.32 to 0.43] p < 0.001) and were more likely to believe that the hospitals they chose would impact their chances of having cesarean deliveries (38.5% vs 33.1%, p < 0.001) but did not assign higher priority to cesarean delivery rates when choosing their hospitals (76.2% vs 74.3%, p = 0.05). There was no difference in self-reported cesarean rates between the intervention and control groups (31.4% vs 31.4%, p = 0.98). Conclusion People offered an educational program and interactive tool to compare hospital cesarean rates were more likely to use cesarean data in selecting a hospital and selected hospitals with lower cesarean rates but were not less likely to have a cesarean. Clinical Trial Registration Registered December 9, 2016 at, First enrollment November 2019. ID NCT02987803,