UNSW research shows that risk profiles for women giving birth in public and private hospitals differ - with public hospitals taking care of a higher risk population of pregnant women.

An analysis of more than 780,000 full-term births in Australia between 2001 and 2004 found marginally higher rates of adverse perinatal outcomes in public hospitals compared to private hospitals, reflecting the complexity of the population to whom they provide maternity care.

The study, by Associate Professor Elizabeth Sullivan and Ms Paula Laws from UNSW's Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology Research Unit, along with Associate Professor Stephen Robson of Australian National University, was published online by the Medical Journal of Australia ahead of the Federal Government's maternity services review.

The researchers said the findings were provocative, given the high rate of interventions in private hospitals which usually increase complications.

For more on this story visit The Age

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 | s.offner@unsw.edu.au