Impact of Adherence to a Standardized Oxytocin Induction Protocol on Obstetric and Neonatal Outcomes


South Atlantic


Memorial Health University Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



Infant, Newborn, Pregnancy, Humans, Female, Oxytocin, Oxytocics, Cesarean Section, Postpartum Hemorrhage, Retrospective Studies


Maternal and Child Health | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Quality Improvement


BACKGROUND: Oxytocin protocols are employed to induce uterine contractions and progressive cervical changes, but they are associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. The aim of this study was to determine whether compliance with a checklist-based protocol for oxytocin administration was associated with changes in neonatal and maternal outcomes.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of 86,786 pregnant women undergoing term (> 37 weeks) induction of labor between January 2015 and December 2017 was performed. Systemwide training in the use of an oxytocin administration protocol was provided to obstetricians and nurses. Pre-use and in-use oxytocin checklists were incorporated into each unit's policies and procedures. Subsequently, charts were reviewed and individually audited by an obstetric nurse who scored each record based on the documentation of variables in an oxytocin administration protocol and ranked adherence as complete or absent. Primary outcomes were postpartum hemorrhage, neonatal ICU (NICU) admission, and delivery by cesarean section. Bivariate analyses (t-tests) were performed on adherent and nonadherent groups for comparison of selected demographic variables and the primary outcome variables. Logistic regression was completed on the primary outcome variable with eight covariates.

RESULTS: Among patients with complete adherence to the oxytocin administration protocol, the rate of cesarean section in the unadjusted analysis was 16.20%, compared to 18.54% for those with incomplete adherence; the rates of postpartum hemorrhage were 2.64% vs. 3.14%, respectively, and the rates of NICU admission were 3.03% vs. 3.86%, respectively. In the multivariable logistic regression, complete protocol adherence was associated with significantly lower odds of postpartum hemorrhage (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.76-0.94) but higher odds of Cesarean section (adjusted OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01-1.13); the adjusted OR for NICU admission was 0.90, which did not reach statistical significance (95% CI 0.81-1.00). Among the covariates, nulliparity and elective induction were the strongest predictors of the primary outcomes of cesarean section, postpartum hemorrhage, and NICU admission.

CONCLUSION: Adherence to the oxytocin administration protocol was associated with a decrease in postpartum hemorrhage but an increased risk of delivery by cesarean section.

Publisher or Conference

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety