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26.  Maternal mortality in Kassala State - Eastern Sudan: community-based study using Reproductive age mortality survey (RAMOS) 
Background
The maternal mortality ratio in Sudan was estimated at 750/100,000 live births. Sudan was one of eleven countries that are responsible for 65% of global maternal deaths according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) estimate. Maternal mortality in Kassala State was high in national demographic surveys. This study was conducted to investigate the causes and contributing factors of maternal deaths and to identify any discrepancies in rates and causes between different areas.
Methods
A reproductive age mortality survey (RAMOS) was conducted to study maternal mortality in Kassala State. Deaths of women of reproductive age (WRA) in four purposively selected areas were identified by interviewing key informants in each village followed by verbal autopsy.
Results
Over a three-year period, 168 maternal deaths were identified among 26,066 WRA. Verbal autopsies were conducted in 148 (88.1%) of these cases. Of these, 64 (43.2%) were due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Maternal mortality rates and ratios were 80.6 per 100,000 WRA and 713.6 per 100,000 live births (LB), respectively. There was a wide discrepancy between urban and rural maternal mortality ratios (369 and 872\100,000 LB, respectively). Direct obstetric causes were responsible for 58.4% of deaths. Severe anemia (20.3%) and acute febrile illness (9.4%) were the major indirect causes of maternal death whereas obstetric hemorrhage (15.6%), obstructed labor (14.1%) and puerperal sepsis (10.9%) were the major obstetric causes.
Of the contributing factors, we found delay of referral in 73.4% of cases in spite of a high problem recognition rate (75%). 67.2% of deaths occurred at home, indicating under utilization of health facilities, and transportation problems were found in 54.7% of deaths.
There was a high illiteracy rate among the deceased and their husbands (62.5% and 48.4%, respectively).
Conclusions
Maternal mortality rates and ratios were found to be high, with a wide variation between urban and rural populations. Direct causes of maternal death were similar to those in developing countries. To reduce this high maternal mortality rate we recommend improving provision of emergency obstetric care (Emoc) in all health facilities, expanding midwifery training and coverage especially in rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-102
PMCID: PMC3260097  PMID: 22171988
27.  Effect of physical activity intervention based on a pedometer on physical activity level and anthropometric measures after childbirth: a randomized controlled trial 
Background
Pregnancy and childbirth are associated with weight gain in women, and retention of weight gained during pregnancy can lead to obesity in later life. Diet and physical activity are factors that can influence the loss of retained pregnancy weight after birth. Exercise guidelines exist for pregnancy, but recommendations for exercise after childbirth are virtually nonexistent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of physical activity intervention based on pedometer on physical activity level and anthropometric measures of women after childbirth.
Methods
We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which 66 women who had given birth 6 weeks to 6 months prior were randomly assigned to receive either a 12 week tailored program encouraging increased walking using a pedometer (intervention group, n = 32) or routine postpartum care (control group, n = 34). During the 12-week study period, each woman in the intervention group wore a pedometer and recorded her daily step count. The women were advised to increase their steps by 500 per week until they achieved the first target of 5000 steps per day and then continued to increase it to minimum of 10,000 steps per day by the end of 12th week. Assessed outcomes included anthropometric measures, physical activity level, and energy expenditure per week. Data were analyzed using the paired t-test, independent t-test, Mann-Whitney, chi-square, Wilcoxon, covariance analysis, and the general linear model repeated measures procedure as appropriate.
Results
After 12 weeks, women in the intervention group had significantly increased their physical activity and energy expenditure per week (4394 vs. 1651 calorie, p < 0.001). Significant differences between-group in weight (P = 0.001), Body Mass Index (P = 0.001), waist circumference (P = 0.001), hip circumference (P = 0.032) and waist-hip ratio (P = 0.02) were presented after the intervention. The intervention group significantly increased their mean daily step count over the study period (from 3249 before, to 9960 after the intervention, p < 0.001).
Conclusion
A physical activity intervention based on pedometer is an effective means to increase physical activity; reducing retention of weight gained during pregnancy and can improve anthropometric measures in postpartum women.
Trial registration
ISRCTN: IRCT201105026362N1
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-103
PMCID: PMC3292461  PMID: 22176722
28.  Systematic review of the magnitude and case fatality ratio for severe maternal morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa between 1995 and 2010 
Background
Analysis of severe maternal morbidity (maternal near misses) provides information on the quality of care. We assessed the prevalence/incidence of maternal near miss, maternal mortality and case fatality ratio through systematic review of studies on severe maternal morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods
We examined studies that reported prevalence/incidence of severe maternal morbidity (maternal near misses) during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period between 1996 and 2010. We evaluated the quality of studies (objectives, study design, population studied, setting and context, definition of severe acute obstetric morbidity and data collection instruments). We extracted data, using a pre-defined protocol and criteria, and estimated the prevalence or incidence of maternal near miss. The case-fatality ratios for reported maternal complications were estimated.
Results
We identified 12 studies: six were cross-sectional, five were prospective and one was a retrospective review of medical records. There was variation in the setting: while some studies were health facility-based (at the national referral hospital, regional hospital or various district hospitals), others were community-based studies. The sample size varied from 557 women to 23,026. Different definitions and terminologies for maternal near miss included acute obstetric complications, severe life threatening obstetric complications and severe obstetric complications. The incidence/prevalence ratio and case-fatality ratio for maternal near misses ranged from 1.1%-10.1% and 3.1%-37.4% respectively. Ruptured uterus, sepsis, obstructed labor and hemorrhage were the commonest morbidities that were analyzed. The incidence/prevalence ratio of hemorrhage ranged from 0.06% to 3.05%, while the case fatality ratio for hemorrhage ranged from 2.8% to 27.3%. The prevalence/incidence ratio for sepsis ranged from 0.03% to 0.7%, while the case fatality ratio ranged from 0.0% to 72.7%.
Conclusion
The incidence/prevalence ratio and case fatality ratio of maternal near misses are very high in studies from sub-Saharan Africa. Large differences exist between countries on the prevalence/incidence of maternal near misses. This could be due to different contexts/settings, variation in the criteria used to define the maternal near misses morbidity, or rigor used carrying out the study. Future research on maternal near misses should adopt the WHO recommendation on classification of maternal morbidity and mortality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-65
PMCID: PMC3203082  PMID: 21955698
29.  High maternal mortality estimated by the sisterhood method in a rural area of Mali 
Background
Maternal mortality is high in Mali. Nevertheless, there are few studies on this topic from rural areas, and current estimates are mostly based on studies from urban settings. Our objective was to estimate the maternal mortality ratio in Kita, rural Mali.
Methods
Using the "sisterhood method", we interviewed participants aged 15-50 years from 20 villages in Kita, Mali, and thereby created a retrospective cohort of their sisters in reproductive age. Based on population and fertility estimates, we calculated the lifetime risk of maternal death, and from that the estimated approximate maternal mortality ratio.
Results
The 2,039 respondents reported 4,628 sisters who had reached reproductive age. Of these 4,628 sisters, almost a third (1,233; 27%) had died, and 429 (9%) had died during pregnancy or childbirth. This corresponded to a lifetime risk of maternal death of 20% and a maternal mortality ratio of 3,131 per 100,000 live births (95% confidence interval 2,967-3,296), with a time reference around 1999.
Conclusions
We found a very high maternal mortality in rural Mali and this highlights the urgent need for obstetric services in the remote rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-56
PMCID: PMC3161002  PMID: 21812951
maternal mortality; rural; sisterhood method; Mali
30.  Global report on preterm birth and stillbirth (3 of 7): evidence for effectiveness of interventions 
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth  2010;10(Suppl 1):S3.
Introduction
Interventions directed toward mothers before and during pregnancy and childbirth may help reduce preterm births and stillbirths. Survival of preterm newborns may also be improved with interventions given during these times or soon after birth. This comprehensive review assesses existing interventions for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Methods
Approximately 2,000 intervention studies were systematically evaluated through December 31, 2008. They addressed preterm birth or low birth weight; stillbirth or perinatal mortality; and management of preterm newborns. Out of 82 identified interventions, 49 were relevant to LMICs and had reasonable amounts of evidence, and therefore selected for in-depth reviews. Each was classified and assessed by the quality of available evidence and its potential to treat or prevent preterm birth and stillbirth. Impacts on other maternal, fetal, newborn or child health outcomes were also considered. Assessments were based on an adaptation of the Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation criteria.
Results
Most interventions require additional research to improve the quality of evidence. Others had little evidence of benefit and should be discontinued. The following are supported by moderate- to high-quality evidence and strongly recommended for LMICs:
• Two interventions prevent preterm births—smoking cessation and progesterone
• Eight interventions prevent stillbirths—balanced protein energy supplementation, screening and treatment of syphilis, intermittant presumptive treatment for malaria during pregnancy, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, birth preparedness, emergency obstetric care, cesarean section for breech presentation, and elective induction for post-term delivery
• Eleven interventions improve survival of preterm newborns—prophylactic steroids in preterm labor, antibiotics for PROM, vitamin K supplementation at delivery, case management of neonatal sepsis and pneumonia, delayed cord clamping, room air (vs. 100% oxygen) for resuscitation, hospital-based kangaroo mother care, early breastfeeding, thermal care, and surfactant therapy and application of continued distending pressure to the lungs for respiratory distress syndrome
Conclusion
The research paradigm for discovery science and intervention development must be balanced to address prevention as well as improve morbidity and mortality in all settings. This review also reveals significant gaps in current knowledge of interventions spanning the continuum of maternal and fetal outcomes, and the critical need to generate further high-quality evidence for promising interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-S1-S3
PMCID: PMC2841444  PMID: 20233384
31.  Overweight and obesity knowledge prior to pregnancy: a survey study 
Background
Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for pregnancy complications. Knowledge about increased risks in overweight and obese women could contribute to successful prevention strategies and the aim of this study is to assess current levels of knowledge in a pregnant population.
Methods
Cross sectional survey of 412 consecutive unselected women in early pregnancy in Brisbane, Australia: 255 public women attending their first antenatal clinic visit and 157 women at private maternal fetal medicine clinics undergoing a routine ultrasound evaluation prior to 20 weeks gestation. The cohort was stratified according to pre pregnancy BMI (< 25.0 or ≥ 25.0). The main outcome measure was knowledge regarding the risks of overweight and obesity in pregnancy.
Results
Over 75% of respondents identified that obese women have an increased risk of overall complications, including gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy compared to women of normal weight. More than 60% of women asserted that obesity would increase the risk of caesarean section and less than half identified an increased risk of adverse neonatal outcomes. Women were less likely to know about neonatal complications (19.7% did not know about the effect of obesity on these) than maternal complications (7.4%). Knowledge was similar amongst women recruited at the public hospital and those recruited whilst attending for an ultrasound scan at a private clinic. For most areas they were also similar between women of lower and higher BMI, but women with BMI < 25.0 were less likely to know that obesity was associated with increased rate of Caesarean section than those with higher BMI (16.8% versus 4.5%, P < 0.001). Higher educational status was associated with more knowledge of the risks of overweight and obesity in pregnancy.
Conclusions
Many women correctly identify that overweight and obesity increases the overall risk of complications of pregnancy and childbirth. The increased risks of maternal complications associated with being obese are better known than the increased risk of neonatal complications. Maternal education status is a main determinant of the extent of knowledge and this should be considered when designing education campaigns.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-96
PMCID: PMC3240826  PMID: 22103736
32.  Long-term health-related and economic consequences of short-term outcomes in evaluation of perinatal interventions 
Background
Many perinatal interventions are performed to improve long-term neonatal outcome. To evaluate the long-term effect of a perinatal intervention follow-up of the child after discharge from the hospital is necessary because serious sequelae from perinatal complications frequently manifest themselves only after several years. However, long-term follow-up is time-consuming, is not in the awareness of obstetricians, is expensive and falls outside the funding-period of most obstetric studies. Consequently, short-term outcomes are often reported instead of the primary long-term end-point. With this project, we will assess the current state of affairs concerning follow-up after obstetric RCTs and we will develop multivariable prediction models for different long-term health outcomes. Furthermore, we would like to encourage other researchers participating in follow-up studies after large obstetric trials (> 350 women) to inform us about their studies so that we can include their follow-up study in our systematic review. We would invite these researchers also to join our effort and to collaborate with us on the external validation of our prediction models.
Methods/Design
A systematic review of neonatal follow-up after obstetric studies will be performed. All reviews of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth group will be assessed for reviews on interventions that aimed to improve neonatal outcome. Reviews on interventions primary looking at other aspects than neonatal outcome such as labour progress will also be included when these interventions can change the outcome of the neonate on the short or long-term. Our review will be limited to RCTs with more than 350 women. Information that will be extracted from these RCTs will address whether, how and for how long follow-up has been performed. However, in many cases long-term follow-up of the infants will not be feasible. An alternative solution to limited follow-up could be to develop prediction models to estimate long-term health outcomes of the newborn based on specific perinatal outcomes and other covariates. For the development of multivariable prediction models for several health outcomes, we will use data available from a Dutch cohort study of preterm (< 32 weeks) and/or small for gestational age infants (< 1500 g). These infants were born in The Netherlands in 1983 and followed until they reached the age of 19.
Discussion
The systematic review will provide insight in the extent and methods used for follow-up assessments after obstetric RCTs in the past. The prediction models can be used by future studies to extrapolate short-term outcomes to a long-term horizon or to indicate for which neonates long-term follow-up is required, as their outcomes (either absence or presence of sequelae) cannot be adequately predicted from short-term outcomes and clinical background characteristics.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-42
PMCID: PMC2928175  PMID: 20698963
33.  Antenatal care in The Gambia: Missed opportunity for information, education and communication 
Background
Antenatal care is widely established and provides an opportunity to inform and educate pregnant women about pregnancy, childbirth and care of the newborn. It is expected that this would assist the women in making choices that would contribute to good pregnancy outcome. We examined the provision of information and education in antenatal clinics from the perspective of pregnant women attending these clinics.
Methods
A cross sectional survey of 457 pregnant women attending six urban and six rural antenatal clinics in the largest health division in The Gambia was undertaken. The women were interviewed using modified antenatal client exit interview and antenatal record review questionnaires from the WHO Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment kit. Differences between women attending urban and rural clinics were assessed using the Chi-square test. Relative risks with 95% confidence intervals are presented.
Results
Ninety percent of those interviewed had attended the antenatal clinic more than once and 52% four or more times. Most pregnant women (70.5%) said they spent 3 minutes or less with the antenatal care provider. About 35% recalled they were informed or educated on diet and nutrition, 30.4% on care of the baby, 23.6% on family planning, 22.8% on place of birth and 19.3% on what to do if there was a complication.
About 25% of pregnant women said they were given information about the progress of their pregnancy after consultation and only 12.8% asked their provider any question. Awareness of danger signs was low. The proportions of women that recognised signs of danger were 28.9% for anaemia, 24.6% for hypertension, 14.8% for haemorrhage, 12.9% for fever and 5% for puerperal sepsis. Prolonged labour was not recognised as a danger sign. Women attending rural antenatal clinics were 1.6 times more likely to recognise signs of anaemia and hypertension as indicative of danger compared to women attending urban antenatal clinics.
Conclusion
Information, education and communication during antenatal care in the largest health division are poor. Pregnant women are ill-equipped to make appropriate choices especially when they are in danger. This contributes to the persistence of high maternal mortality ratios in the country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-8-9
PMCID: PMC2322944  PMID: 18325122
34.  Behaviour change in perinatal care practices among rural women exposed to a women's group intervention in Nepal [ISRCTN31137309] 
Background
A randomised controlled trial of participatory women's groups in rural Nepal previously showed reductions in maternal and newborn mortality. In addition to the outcome data we also collected previously unreported information from the subgroup of women who had been pregnant prior to study commencement and conceived during the trial period. To determine the mechanisms via which the intervention worked we here examine the changes in perinatal care of these women. In particular we use the information to study factors affecting positive behaviour change in pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care.
Methods
Women's groups focusing on perinatal care were introduced into 12 of 24 study clusters (average cluster population 7000). A total of 5400 women of reproductive age enrolled in the trial had previously been pregnant and conceived during the trial period.
For each of four outcomes (attendance at antenatal care; use of a boiled blade to cut the cord; appropriate dressing of the cord; not discarding colostrum) each of these women was classified as BETTER, GOOD, BAD or WORSE to describe whether and how she changed her pre-trial practice. Multilevel multinomial models were used to identify women most responsive to intervention.
Results
Among those not initially following good practice, women in intervention areas were significantly more likely to do so later for all four outcomes (OR 1.92 to 3.13). Within intervention clusters, women who attended groups were more likely to show a positive change than non-group members with regard to antenatal care utilisation and not discarding colostrum, but non-group members also benefited.
Conclusion
Women's groups promoted significant behaviour change for perinatal care amongst women not previously following good practice. Positive changes attributable to intervention were not restricted to specific demographic subgroups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-6-20
PMCID: PMC1513253  PMID: 16776818
35.  Women's health groups to improve perinatal care in rural Nepal 
Background
Neonatal mortality rates are high in rural Nepal where more than 90% of deliveries are in the home. Evidence suggests that death rates can be reduced by interventions at community level. We describe an intervention which aimed to harness the power of community planning and decision making to improve maternal and newborn care in rural Nepal.
Methods
The development of 111 women's groups in a population of 86 704 in Makwanpur district, Nepal is described. The groups, facilitated by local women, were the intervention component of a randomized controlled trial to reduce perinatal and neonatal mortality rates. Through participant observation and analysis of reports, we describe the implementation of this intervention: the community entry process, the facilitation of monthly meetings through a participatory action cycle of problem identification, community planning, and implementation and evaluation of strategies to tackle the identified problems.
Results
In response to the needs of the group, participatory health education was added to the intervention and the women's groups developed varied strategies to tackle problems of maternal and newborn care: establishing mother and child health funds, producing clean home delivery kits and operating stretcher schemes. Close linkages with community leaders and community health workers improved strategy implementation. There were also indications of positive effects on group members and health services, and most groups remained active after 30 months.
Conclusion
A large scale and potentially sustainable participatory intervention with women's groups, which focused on pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn period, resulted in innovative strategies identified by local communities to tackle perinatal care problems.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-5-6
PMCID: PMC1079874  PMID: 15771772
36.  Pregnancy intendedness and the association with physical, sexual and emotional abuse – a European multi-country cross-sectional study 
Background
Unintended pregnancies are common and when not resulting in a termination of pregnancy may lead to unintended childbirth. Unintended pregnancies are associated with increased health risks, also for women for whom pregnancy continues to childbirth. Our objective was to present the prevalence of unintended pregnancy in six European countries among pregnant women attending routine antenatal care, and to investigate the association with a history of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Methods
A prospective cross-sectional study, of 7102 pregnant women who filled out a questionnaire during pregnancy as part of a multi-country cohort study (Bidens) with the participating countries: Belgium, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Sweden. A validated instrument, the Norvold Abuse Questionnaire (NorAq) consisting of 10 descriptive questions measured abuse. Pregnancy intendedness was assessed using a single question asking women if this pregnancy was planned. Cross-tabulation, Chi-square tests and binary logistic regression analysis were used.
Results
Approximately one-fifth (19.2 %) of all women reported their current pregnancy to be unintended. Women with an unintended pregnancy were significantly younger, had less education, suffered economic hardship, had a different ethnic background from the regional majority and more frequently were not living with their partner. The prevalence of an unintended pregnancy among women reporting any lifetime abuse was 24.5 %, and 38.5 % among women reporting recent abuse. Women with a history of any lifetime abuse had significantly higher odds of unintended pregnancy, also after adjusting for confounding factors, AOR for any lifetime abuse 1.41 (95 % CI 1.23–1.60) and for recent abuse AOR 2.03 (95 % CI 1.54–2.68).
Conclusion
Women who have experienced any lifetime abuse are significantly more likely to have an unintended pregnancy. This is particularly true for women reporting recent abuse, suggesting that women living in a violent relationship have less control over their fertility.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0558-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0558-4
PMCID: PMC4494794  PMID: 26008119
Unintended pregnancy; Sexual abuse; Physical abuse; Emotional abuse; Pregnancy intention
37.  Sleep education during pregnancy for new mothers 
Background
There is a high association between disturbed (poor quality) sleep and depression, which has lead to a consensus that there is a bidirectional relationship between sleep and mood. One time in a woman’s life when sleep is commonly disturbed is during pregnancy and following childbirth. It has been suggested that sleep disturbance is another factor that may contribute to the propensity for women to become depressed in the postpartum period compared to other periods in their life. Post Natal Depression (PND) is common (15.5%) and associated with sleep disturbance, however, no studies have attempted to provide a sleep-focused intervention to pregnant women and assess whether this can improve sleep, and consequently maternal mood post-partum. The primary aim of this research is to determine the efficacy of a brief psychoeducational sleep intervention compared with a control group to improve sleep management, with a view to reduce depressive symptoms in first time mothers.
Method
This randomised controlled trial will recruit 214 first time mothers during the last trimester of their pregnancy. Participants will be randomised to receive either a set of booklets (control group) or a 3hour psychoeducational intervention that focuses on sleep. The primary outcomes of this study are sleep-related, that is sleep quality and sleepiness for ten months following the birth of the baby. The secondary outcome is depressive symptoms. It is hypothesised that participants in the intervention group will have better sleep quality and sleepiness in the postpartum period than women in the control condition. Further, we predict that women who receive the sleep intervention will have lower depression scores postpartum compared with the control group.
Discussion
This study aims to provide an intervention that will improve maternal sleep in the postpartum period. If sleep can be effectively improved through a brief psychoeducational program, then it may have a protective role in reducing maternal postpartum depressive symptoms.
Registration details
This trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Register under the registration number ACTRN12611000859987
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-155
PMCID: PMC3546917  PMID: 23244163
Sleep; New mothers; Postnatal; Postpartum; Depression; Psychoeducation
38.  Proceedings of 2011 Stillbirth Summit 
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth  2015;15(Suppl 1):A2.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-15-S1-A2
PMCID: PMC4402693
39.  Women and healthcare providers’ perceptions of a midwife-led unit in a Swiss university hospital: a qualitative study 
Background
The development of medical-led care in obstetrics over the past decades has contributed to improving outcomes for both mother and child. Although efficiency has improved in complex situations, unnecessary interventions are still practiced in low-risk pregnancies, contrary to international recommendations. A shift to a less interventionist model of care has encouraged many countries to review their policies on maternal health care and develop models such as the “midwife-led unit” (MLU) where the midwife plays a predominant role with a minimum of routine intervention. Existing research has provided convincing evidence that MLUs lead to better maternal and neonatal outcomes when compared to traditional models. They not only improve the level of satisfaction amongst women, but are also associated with reduced healthcare costs. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of women and healthcare providers regarding the creation of an MLU in a Swiss university hospital.
Methods
A descriptive research study using qualitative methods was conducted among pregnant women and new mothers in a Swiss maternity unit, including also midwives and medical staff. Data collection was carried out through one-to-one interviews, focus groups, and telephone interviews (n = 63). After transcription, thematic analysis was performed.
Results
The triangulation of perceptions of women and healthcare providers indicated support for the implementation of an MLU to promote physiological delivery. Most women welcomed the idea of an MLU, in particular how it could help in offering continuity of care. Healthcare providers were optimistic about the implementation of an MLU and recognised the need for some women to have access to a less interventionist approach. From the women’s perspective, barriers concerned the lack of awareness of midwives’ full scope of practice, while barriers for midwives and obstetricians were related to the challenge to develop a good interprofessional collaboration.
Conclusion
Alternative models to provide maternity care for low-risk women have been developed and evaluated widely in several countries outside Switzerland. This study showed that women and healthcare providers were favourable towards the development of a new care model, while taking into account the specific expectations and barriers raised by participants.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0477-4
PMCID: PMC4359486  PMID: 25886389
Midwife-led unit; Maternity services care model; Midwifery; Continuity of care; Physiological childbirth; Qualitative research
40.  Impact of a nationwide study for surveillance of maternal near-miss on the quality of care provided by participating centers: a quantitative and qualitative approach 
Background
The Brazilian Network for Surveillance of Severe Maternal Morbidity was established in 27 centers in different regions of Brazil to investigate the frequency of severe maternal morbidity (near-miss and potentially life-threatening conditions) and associated factors, and to create a collaborative network for studies on perinatal health. It also allowed interventions aimed at improving the quality of care in the participating institutions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the perception of the professionals involved regarding the effect of participating in such network on the quality of care provided to women.
Methods
A mixed quantitative and qualitative study interviewed coordinators, investigators and managers from all the 27 obstetric units that had participated in the network. Following verbal informed consent, data were collected six and twelve months after the surveillance period using structured and semi-structured interviews that were conducted by telephone and recorded. A descriptive analysis for the quantitative and categorical data, and a thematic content analysis for the answers to the open questions were performed.
Results
The vast majority (93%) of interviewees considered it was important to have participated in the network and 95% that their ability to identify cases of severe maternal morbidity had improved. They also considered that the study had a positive effect, leading to changes in how cases were identified, better organization/standardization of team activities, changes in routines/protocols, implementation of auditing for severe cases, dissemination of knowledge at local/regional level and a contribution to local and/or national identification of maternal morbidity. After 12 months, interviewees mentioned the need to improve prenatal care and the scientific importance of the results. Some believed that there had been little or no impact due to the poor dissemination of information and the resistance of professionals to change practice. In this second interview, a lack of systematic surveillance after the end of the study, difficulty in referring cases and changes in the leadership of the unit were mentioned.
Conclusion
In the opinion of these professionals, participating in a network for the surveillance of severe maternal morbidity represented a good strategy for improving services, even in reference centers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-122
PMCID: PMC4234017  PMID: 24690270
Maternal morbidity; Near miss; Quality of care
41.  A qualitative study exploring pregnant women’s weight-related attitudes and beliefs in UK: the BLOOM study 
Background
There is little information on the individual cognitive, perceptual and psychosocial factors that influence the lifestyle behaviours of pregnant women. This study explored pregnant women’s weight-related attitudes and beliefs during pregnancy.
Methods
Nineteen pregnant women with different pre-pregnancy BMIs and in their third trimester were purposefully sampled for face-to-face interviews. Topics covered included lifestyles, sources of information, feelings about their bodies, and level of control over themselves and their bodies. Systematic thematic content analysis was used to identify recurrent themes.
Results
Women perceived their bodies as fragmented into ‘my pregnancy’ (the bump) and ‘me’ (rest of my body). This fragmentation was the key driver of their weight-related attitudes and beliefs and influenced their dietary and physical activity behaviours. Consuming healthy foods was necessary for ‘my pregnancy’ to provide the ideal gestational environment. Simultaneously, pregnancy was perceived as a time to relax previously set rigid rules around diet and physical activity, allowing women to consume unhealthy foods and lead sedentary lifestyles. Women faced emotional conflicts between limiting weight gain for ‘me’, and being perceived as acting morally by gaining enough weight for ‘baby’. Although ‘bump’ related weight gain was acceptable, weight gain in other parts of their body was viewed negatively and implied lack of self-control. Conflict was often alleviated, and weight-related behaviours validated, by seeking practical and reputable information for weight management. Women felt that their midwives provided detailed information on what they should not do during pregnancy, but were rarely given information about what they should do in relation to diet and physical activity for weight management. Consequently, women often used information from a variety of sources which they filtered using ‘common sense’.
Conclusions
This study has identified that a central concept to pregnant women’s diet and physical activity beliefs during pregnancy is the fragmentation of self into ‘me’ and ‘my pregnancy’. This fragmentation influenced beliefs about diet and physical activity, and control and acceptability of gestation weight gain on different parts of the body. Future interventions and antenatal care should take this fragmentation into consideration when providing pregnant women with advice, information and support relating to their diet and physical activity behaviours.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0522-3
PMCID: PMC4417529  PMID: 25895679
Pregnancy; Gestational weight gain; Diet; Physical activity; Weight management; Qualitative
42.  Determinants of women’s satisfaction with maternal health care: a review of literature from developing countries 
Background
Developing countries account for 99 percent of maternal deaths annually. While increasing service availability and maintaining acceptable quality standards, it is important to assess maternal satisfaction with care in order to make it more responsive and culturally acceptable, ultimately leading to enhanced utilization and improved outcomes. At a time when global efforts to reduce maternal mortality have been stepped up, maternal satisfaction and its determinants also need to be addressed by developing country governments. This review seeks to identify determinants of women’s satisfaction with maternity care in developing countries.
Methods
The review followed the methodology of systematic reviews. Public health and social science databases were searched. English articles covering antenatal, intrapartum or postpartum care, for either home or institutional deliveries, reporting maternal satisfaction from developing countries (World Bank list) were included, with no year limit. Out of 154 shortlisted abstracts, 54 were included and 100 excluded. Studies were extracted onto structured formats and analyzed using the narrative synthesis approach.
Results
Determinants of maternal satisfaction covered all dimensions of care across structure, process and outcome. Structural elements included good physical environment, cleanliness, and availability of adequate human resources, medicines and supplies. Process determinants included interpersonal behavior, privacy, promptness, cognitive care, perceived provider competency and emotional support. Outcome related determinants were health status of the mother and newborn. Access, cost, socio-economic status and reproductive history also influenced perceived maternal satisfaction.
Process of care dominated the determinants of maternal satisfaction in developing countries. Interpersonal behavior was the most widely reported determinant, with the largest body of evidence generated around provider behavior in terms of courtesy and non-abuse. Other aspects of interpersonal behavior included therapeutic communication, staff confidence and competence and encouragement to laboring women.
Conclusions
Quality improvement efforts in developing countries could focus on strengthening the process of care. Special attention is needed to improve interpersonal behavior, as evidence from the review points to the importance women attach to being treated respectfully, irrespective of socio-cultural or economic context. Further research on maternal satisfaction is required on home deliveries and relative strength of various determinants in influencing maternal satisfaction.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0525-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0525-0
PMCID: PMC4417271  PMID: 25928085
Maternal satisfaction; Determinants; Quality of care; Deliveries; Developing countries
43.  Antibiotic prophylaxis for caesarean section at a Ugandan hospital: a randomised clinical trial evaluating the effect of administration time on the incidence of postoperative infections 
Background
Prophylactic antibiotics are used to prevent postoperative infections after caesarean section. Studies have suggested that the timing of prophylaxis plays an important role. Over the years, the role of the anaesthesiologist in the administration of prophylactic antibiotics has become prominent. Therefore, there is an increasing need for anaesthesia providers to understand the rationale of antibiotic prophylaxis. We therefore sought to compare the effect of antibiotics prophylaxis within 1 hour before skin incision and after skin incision on the incidence of postoperative infections in patients undergoing caesarean section at Mulago Hospital.
Methods
We conducted a single-blind randomised clinical trial conducted at Mulago Hospital evaluating 464 patients undergoing emergency caesarean section. Patients were randomly assigned a group number that allocated them to either arm of the study. They received the same prophylactic antibiotic according to their allotment, that is, either within 1 hour before skin incision or after skin incision as per current standards of practice in Mulago Hospital. They were followed up to detect infection up to 10 days postoperatively. The primary outcome was postoperative infection. The data collected were analysed with STATA version 12 using univariate and bivariate analysis.
Results
The risk of overall postoperative infection was significantly lower when prophylaxis was given within an hour before incision (RR O.77, 95% CI 0.62–0.97). We also found endometritis to be significantly reduced in the pre-incision group (RR 0.62; 95% CI 0.39–0.99; P value 0.036).
Conclusions
Giving prophylactic antibiotics before skin incision reduces risk of postoperative infection, in particular of endometritis.
Trial registration
Pan African Clinical Trial Registry PACTR201311000610495.
Date of trial registration: 12th August 2013.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0514-3
PMCID: PMC4417223  PMID: 25884350
Antibiotic prophylaxis; Caesarean section; Infection; Low-income setting
44.  Correlates of male involvement in maternal and newborn health: a cross-sectional study of men in a peri-urban region of Myanmar 
Background
Evidence suggests that increasing male involvement in maternal and newborn health (MNH) may improve MNH outcomes. However, male involvement is difficult to measure, and further research is necessary to understand the barriers and enablers for men to engage in MNH, and to define target groups for interventions. Using data from a peri-urban township in Myanmar, this study aimed to construct appropriate indicators of male involvement in MNH, and assess sociodemographic, knowledge and attitude correlates of involvement.
Methods
A cross-sectional study of married men with one or more children aged up to one year was conducted in 2012. Structured questionnaires measured participants’ involvement in MNH, and their sociodemographic characteristics, knowledge and attitudes. An ordinal measure of male involvement was constructed describing the subject’s participation across five areas of MNH, giving a score of 1–4. Proportional-odds regression models were developed to determine correlates of male involvement.
Results
A total of 210 men participated in the survey, of which 203 provided complete data. Most men reported involvement level scores of either 2 or 3 (64 %), with 13 % reporting the highest level (score of 4). Involvement in MNH was positively associated with wives’ level of education (AOR = 3.4; 95 % CI: 1.9-6.2; p < 0.001) and men’s level of knowledge of MNH (AOR = 1.2; 95 % CI: 1.1-1.3; p < 0.001), and negatively correlated with number of children (AOR = 0.78; 95 % CI: 0.63-0.95; p = 0.016).
Conclusions
These findings can inform the design of programs aiming to increase male involvement, for example by targeting less educated couples and addressing their knowledge of MNH. The composite index proved a useful summary measure of involvement; however, it may have masked differential determinants of the summed indicators. There is a need for greater understanding of the influence of gender attitudes on male involvement in Myanmar and more robust indicators that capture these gender dynamics for use both in Myanmar and globally.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0561-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0561-9
PMCID: PMC4445797  PMID: 26013564
Male involvement; Maternal and newborn health; Maternal, newborn and child health; Women’s health; Gender and health; Myanmar; Burma; South East Asia; Sexual and reproductive health; Cross-sectional studies
45.  Levels and determinants of continuum of care for maternal and newborn health in Cambodia-evidence from a population-based survey 
Background
Continuum of care throughout pregnancy, birth, and after delivery has become a key program strategy for improving the health of mothers and newborns. Successful program implementation to improve the continuum of care relies on a better understanding of where the gaps are in seeking care along the pathway and what factors contribute to the gaps.
Methods
Using data from the 2010 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey, we examine the levels of service use along the continuum of care. Three sequential regression models are fitted to identify factor(s) that affect women from getting skilled birth attendance (SBA) after receiving antenatal care (ANC), and from getting postnatal care (PNC) after having both ANC and SBA.
Results
Three of every five Cambodian women received all three types of maternal care—antenatal care, skilled birth attendance at birth and postnatal care -for their most recent birth, however with substantial regional variation ranging from 14% to 96%. The results highlight that mother’s age, educational attainment, urban residence, household wealth, lower birth order are associated with women’s use of antenatal care and their continuation to using skilled birth attendant. Health insurance coverage also increases use of antenatal care but not skilled birth attendant. Having four antenatal care visits and receiving better quality of antenatal care affected women’s subsequent use of skilled birth attendant. The odds of having skilled birth attendant increases by 30 to 50% for women who received blood pressure measurement, urine sample taken, and blood sample taken as part of antenatal services. Household wealth status, urine sample taken, and delivery at a health facility were the only three factors significantly associated with the continuation from having skilled birth attendant to receiving postnatal care.
Conclusions
Cambodia has made remarkable progress in extending the reach of maternal health care in most areas of the country. Future program efforts should focus on the Northeast part of the country where the lowest level of service use was found. Poor women suffered from lower access to continued care and extending the health insurance coverage might be one way to help them out. Quality of antenatal care is connected to women’s use of skilled birth attendant and postnatal care and should be given more focus.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0497-0
PMCID: PMC4371879  PMID: 25885596
Cambodia; Maternal and newborn health; Continuum of care; Determinants
46.  Preferences for infant delivery site among pregnant women and new mothers in Northern Karnataka, India 
Background
The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) of India aims to increase the uptake of safe and institutional delivery among rural communities to improve maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) outcomes. Previous studies in India have found that while there have been increasing numbers of institutional deliveries there are still considerable barriers to utilization and quality of services, particularly in rural areas, that may mitigate improvements achieved by MNCH interventions. This paper aims to explore the factors influencing preference for home, public or private hospital delivery among rural pregnant and new mothers in three northern districts of Karnataka state, South India.
Methods
In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted in 2010 among 110 pregnant women, new mothers (infants born within past 3 months), their husbands and mothers-in-law. Interviews were conducted in the local language (Kannada) and then translated to English for analysis. The interviews of pregnant women and new mothers were used for analysis to ultimately develop broader themes around definitions of quality care from the perspective of service users, and the influence this had on their delivery site preferences.
Results
Geographical and financial access were important barriers to accessing institutional delivery services in all districts, and among those both above and below the poverty line. Access issues of greatest concern were high costs at private institutions, continuing fees at public hospitals and the inconsistent receipt of government incentives. However, views on quality of care that shaped delivery site preferences were deeply rooted in socio-cultural expectations for comfortable, respectful and safe care that must ultimately be addressed to change negative perceptions about institutional, and particularly public hospital, care at delivery.
Conclusions
In the literature, quality of care beyond access has largely been overlooked in favour of support for incentives on the demand side, and more trained doctors, facilities and equipment on the supply side. Taking a comprehensive approach to quality of care in line with cultural values and community needs is imperative for improving experiences, utilization, and ultimately maternal and neonatal health outcomes at the time of delivery.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0481-8
PMCID: PMC4345019  PMID: 25884166
Delivery sites; Rural India; Quality of care; Qualitative; Reproductive health
47.  Experiencing challenges when implementing Active Management of Third Stage of Labor (AMTSL): a qualitative study with midwives in Accra, Ghana 
Background
Post-partum hemorrhage (PPH) is the major cause of maternal mortality in Ghana and worldwide. Active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL) is a globally recommended three-step method that in clinical trials has been proven effective in prevention of PPH. The AMTSL guidelines were introduced in 2003, modified in 2006, and has been part of the national guidelines in Ghana since 2008. In 2012, the guidelines were modified a second time. Despite its positive effects on the incidence of PPH, the level of adherence to the guidelines seems to be low in the studied area. This appears to be a problem shared by several countries in the region. An in-depth understanding of midwives’ experiences about AMTSL is important as it can provide a basis for further interventions in order to reach a higher grade of implementation.
Methods
Twelve in-depth interviews were conducted with labor ward midwives who all had previous training in AMTSL. The interviews took place in 2011 at three hospitals in Accra Metropolis and data was analyzed using qualitative latent content analysis.
Results
Our main finding was that the third step of AMTSL, uterine massage, was not implemented, even though the general attitude towards AMTSL was positive. Thus, despite regular training sessions, the midwives did not follow the Ghanaian national guidelines. Some contributing factors to difficulties in providing AMTSL to all women have been pointed out in this study, the most important being insufficiency in staff coverage. This led to a need for delegating certain steps of AMTSL to other health care staff, i.e. task shifting. The fact that the definition of AMTSL has changed several times since the introduction in 2003 might also be an aggravating factor.
Conclusions
The results from this study highlight the need for continuous updates of national guidelines, extended educational interventions and recurrent controls of adherence to guidelines. AMTSL is an important tool in preventing PPH, however, it must be clarified how it should be used in countries with scarce resources. Also, considering the difficulties in implementing already existing guidelines, further modifications must be made with careful consideration.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-193
PMCID: PMC4057904  PMID: 24903893
Active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL); Post-partum hemorrhage (PPH); Oxytocin; Controlled Cord Traction; Uterine massage; Ghana; Task shifting
48.  Determinants of maternal health service utilization in Ethiopia: analysis of the 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey 
Background
Antenatal Care (ANC), use of skilled delivery attendants and postnatal care (PNC) services are key maternal health services that can significantly reduce maternal mortality. Understanding the factors that affect service utilization helps to design appropriate strategies and policies towards improvement of service utilization and thereby reduce maternal mortality. The objective of this study was to identify factors that affect utilization of maternal health services in Ethiopia.
Methods
Data were drawn from the 2011 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey. The dependent variables were use of ANC, skilled delivery attendants and PNC services. The independent variables were categorized as socio-cultural, perceived needs and accessibility related factors. Data analysis was done using SPSS for windows version 20.0. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used in the analysis.
Results
Thirty four percent of women had ANC visits, 11.7% used skilled delivery attendants and 9.7% of women had a postnatal health checkup. Education of women, place of residence, ethnicity, parity, women’s autonomy and household wealth had a significant association with the use of maternal health services. Women who completed higher education were more likely to use ANC (AOR = 3.8, 95% CI = 1.8-7.8), skilled delivery attendants (AOR = 3.4, 95% CI = 1.9-6.2) and PNC (AOR = 3.2, 95% CI = 2.0-5.2). Women from urban areas use ANC (AOR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.9-2.9), skilled delivery attendants (AOR = 4.9, 95% CI = 3.8-6.3) and PNC services (AOR = 2.6, 95% CI = 2.0-3.4) more than women from rural areas. Women who have had ANC visits during the index pregnancy were more likely to subsequently use skilled delivery attendants (AOR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.1-1.7) and PNC (AOR = 3.4, 95% CI = 2.8-4.1). Utilization of ANC, delivery and PNC services is more among more autonomous women than those whose spending is controlled by other people.
Conclusion
Maternal health service utilization in Ethiopia is very low. Socio-demographic and accessibility related factors are major determinants of service utilization. There is a high inequality in service utilization among women with differences in education, household wealth, autonomy and residence. ANC is an important entry point for subsequent use of delivery and PNC services. Strategies that aim improving maternal health service utilization should target improvement of education, economic status and empowerment of women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-161
PMCID: PMC4022978  PMID: 24886529
Antenatal care; Delivery; Postnatal care; Maternal health service; Determinants; Skilled delivery attendant; Ethiopia
49.  The impact of training non-physician clinicians in Malawi on maternal and perinatal mortality: a cluster randomised controlled evaluation of the enhancing training and appropriate technologies for mothers and babies in Africa (ETATMBA) project 
Background
Maternal mortality in much of sub-Saharan Africa is very high whereas there has been a steady decline in over the past 60 years in Europe. Perinatal mortality is 12 times higher than maternal mortality accounting for about 7 million neonatal deaths; many of these in sub-Saharan countries. Many of these deaths are preventable. Countries, like Malawi, do not have the resources nor highly trained medical specialists using complex technologies within their healthcare system. Much of the burden falls on healthcare staff other than doctors including non-physician clinicians (NPCs) such as clinical officers, midwives and community health-workers. The aim of this trial is to evaluate a project which is training NPCs as advanced leaders by providing them with skills and knowledge in advanced neonatal and obstetric care. Training that will hopefully be cascaded to their colleagues (other NPCs, midwives, nurses).
Methods/design
This is a cluster randomised controlled trial with the unit of randomisation being the 14 districts of central and northern Malawi (one large district was divided into two giving an overall total of 15). Eight districts will be randomly allocated the intervention. Within these eight districts 50 NPCs will be selected and will be enrolled on the training programme (the intervention). Primary outcome will be maternal and perinatal (defined as until discharge from health facility) mortality. Data will be harvested from all facilities in both intervention and control districts for the lifetime of the project (3–4 years) and comparisons made. In addition a process evaluation using both quantitative and qualitative (e.g. interviews) will be undertaken to evaluate the intervention implementation.
Discussion
Education and training of NPCs is a key to improving healthcare for mothers and babies in countries like Malawi. Some of the challenges faced are discussed as are the potential limitations. It is hoped that the findings from this trial will lead to a sustainable improvement in healthcare and workforce development and training.
Trial registration
ISRCTN63294155
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-116
PMCID: PMC3506516  PMID: 23098408
50.  Timing of antenatal care for adolescent and adult pregnant women in south-eastern Tanzania 
Background
Early and frequent antenatal care attendance during pregnancy is important to identify and mitigate risk factors in pregnancy and to encourage women to have a skilled attendant at childbirth. However, many pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa start antenatal care attendance late, particularly adolescent pregnant women. Therefore they do not fully benefit from its preventive and curative services. This study assesses the timing of adult and adolescent pregnant women's first antenatal care visit and identifies factors influencing early and late attendance.
Methods
The study was conducted in the Ulanga and Kilombero rural Demographic Surveillance area in south-eastern Tanzania in 2008. Qualitative exploratory studies informed the design of a structured questionnaire. A total of 440 women who attended antenatal care participated in exit interviews. Socio-demographic, social, perception- and service related factors were analysed for associations with timing of antenatal care initiation using regression analysis.
Results
The majority of pregnant women initiated antenatal care attendance with an average of 5 gestational months. Belonging to the Sukuma ethnic group compared to other ethnic groups such as the Pogoro, Mhehe, Mgindo and others, perceived poor quality of care, late recognition of pregnancy and not being supported by the husband or partner were identified as factors associated with a later antenatal care enrolment (p < 0.05). Primiparity and previous experience of a miscarriage or stillbirth were associated with an earlier antenatal care attendance (p < 0.05). Adolescent pregnant women started antenatal care no later than adult pregnant women despite being more likely to be single.
Conclusions
Factors including poor quality of care, lack of awareness about the health benefit of antenatal care, late recognition of pregnancy, and social and economic factors may influence timing of antenatal care. Community-based interventions are needed that involve men, and need to be combined with interventions that target improving the quality, content and outreach of antenatal care services to enhance early antenatal care enrolment among pregnant women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-16
PMCID: PMC3384460  PMID: 22436344

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