Determinants of health-related quality of life in the postpartum period after obstetric complications

Babette W. Prick, Denise Bijlenga, A. J.Gerard Jansen, Kim E. Boers, Sicco A. Scherjon, Corine M. Koopmans, Marielle G. Van Pampus, Marie Louise Essink-Bot, Dick J. Van Rhenen, Ben W. Mol, Johannes J. Duvekot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To determine the influence of socio-demographic, clinical parameters and obstetric complications on postpartum health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Study design We used data of three randomized controlled trials to investigate HRQoL determinants in women after an obstetric complication. The DIGITAT and HYPITAT trials compared induction of labor and expectant management in women with intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) and hypertensive disorders. The WOMB trial randomized anemic women after postpartum hemorrhage to red blood cell transfusion or expectant management. The HRQoL-measure Short-Form36 was completed at six weeks postpartum. Multivariable analyses were used to identify which parameters affected the Short-Form36 physical component score (PCS) and mental component score (MCS). Results HRQoL analyses included 1391 women (60%) of the 2310 trial participants. HYPITAT and DIGITAT participants had significantly lower MCS than WOMB participants. In multivariable analysis, PCS after elective and emergency cesarean section was 5-6 points lower than after vaginal delivery. Gestational hypertension, neonatal admission and delivery in an academic hospital had a small negative effect on PCS. No effect was found for randomization status, maternal age, BMI, country of birth, education, parity, induction of labor, analgesics, birth weight, perineal laceration, delivery of placenta, postpartum hemorrhage, congenital anomaly, urinary tract infection, thromboembolic event or endometritis. MCS was influenced only mildly by these parameters. Conclusions IUGR and hypertensive disorders lead to lower HRQoL scores postpartum than PPH. In a heterogeneous obstetric population, only mode of delivery by cesarean section has a profound, negative impact, on physical HRQoL (PCS). No profound impacts on MCS were detected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Health-related quality of life
  • Obstetric labor complications
  • Postpartum period
  • Pregnancy complications


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