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1.  Economic downturns and male cesarean deliveries: a time-series test of the economic stress hypothesis 
Background
In light of the recent Great Recession, increasing attention has focused on the health consequences of economic downturns. The perinatal literature does not converge on whether ambient economic declines threaten the health of cohorts in gestation. We set out to test the economic stress hypothesis that the monthly count of cesarean deliveries (CD), which may gauge the level of fetal distress in a population, rises after the economy declines. We focus on male CD since the literature reports that male more than female fetuses appear sensitive to stressors in utero.
Methods
We tested our ecological hypothesis in California for 228 months from January 1989 to December 2007, the most recent data available to us at the time of our tests. We used as the independent variable the Bureau of Labor Statistics unadjusted total state employment series. Time-series methods controlled for patterns of male CD over time. We also adjusted for the monthly count of female CD, which controls for well-characterized factors (e.g., medical-legal environment, changing risk profile of births) that affect CD but are shared across infant sex.
Results
Findings support the economic stress hypothesis in that male CD increases above its expected value one month after employment declines (employment coefficient = -24.09, standard error = 11.88, p = .04). Additional exploratory analyses at the metropolitan level indicate that findings in Los Angeles and Orange Counties appear to drive the State-level relation.
Conclusions
Contracting economies may perturb the health of male more than female fetuses sufficiently enough to warrant more CD. Male relative to female CD may sensitively gauge the cohort health of gestations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-198
PMCID: PMC4059074  PMID: 24906208
Cesarean delivery; Economic stress; Fetal distress; Male sensitivity
2.  Measuring perinatal complications: methodologic issues related to gestational age 
Background
Perinatal outcomes differ by week of gestational age. However, it appears that how measures to examine these outcomes vary among various studies. The current paper explores how perinatal complications are reported and how they might differ when different denominators, numerators, and comparison groups are utilized.
Conclusion
One issue that can clearly affect absolute rates and trends is how groups of women are categorized by their gestational age. Since most perinatal outcomes can only occur in women and neonates who have delivered, using the number of pregnancies delivered (PD) as the denominator of outcomes is appropriate. However, for an outcome such as antepartum stillbirth, all women who are pregnant at a particular gestational age are at risk. Thus, the denominator should include all ongoing pregnancies (OP). When gestational age is used by week this means using both deliveries during a particular week plus those women who deliver beyond the particular week of gestation in the denominator. Researchers should be careful to make sure they are utilizing the appropriate measure of perinatal complications so they do not report findings that would be misleading to clinicians, patients, and policy makers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-18
PMCID: PMC2075508  PMID: 17760989

Results 1-2 (2)