During low risk births, the risk of newborn death and maternal complications is similar for deliveries performed by family physicians and those performed by obstetricians, according to a new study. The authors note that these findings should only be applied to low-risk deliveries that could be safely performed by either a generalist or a specialist, and that high-risk mothers should continue to see specialists.

Researchers studied 799 823 infant deliveries from across Canada (excluding Quebec) between 2006 and 2009. They found that there was no difference in the risk to infant mortality, or maternal health, if the delivery was performed by either a family physician or a specialist.

Additionally the researchers acknowledge the study examined only death as an infant outcome, and that future studies should examine additional infant outcomes.

Original research paper published in the CMAJ on August 24, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected author

Kris Aubrey-Bassler, Discipline of Family Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland