Health authorities in numerous countries recommend periconceptional folic acid to pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects. The objective of this study was to examine the association of folic acid supplementation during different periods of pregnancy and of dietary folate intake with the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery (PTD).
The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study is a population-based prospective cohort study. A total of 65,668 women with singleton pregnancies resulting in live births in 1999–2009 were included. Folic acid supplementation was self-reported from 26 weeks before pregnancy until week 24 during pregnancy. At gestational week 22, the women completed a food frequency questionnaire, which allowed the calculation of their average total folate intake from foods and supplements for the first 4–5 months of pregnancy. Spontaneous PTD was defined as the spontaneous onset of delivery between weeks 22+0 and 36+6 (n = 1,628).
The median total folate intake was 266 μg/d (interquartile range IQR 154–543) in the overall population and 540 μg/d (IQR 369–651) in the supplement users. Eighty-three percent reported any folic acid supplementation from <8 weeks before to 24 weeks after conception while 42% initiated folic acid supplementation before their pregnancy. Cox regression analysis showed that the amount of folate intake from the diet (hazard ratio HR 1.16; confidence interval CI 0.65-2.08) and from the folic acid supplements (HR 1.04; CI 0.95-1.13) was not significantly associated with the risk of PTD. The initiation of folic acid supplementation more than 8 weeks before conception was associated with an increased risk for PTD (HR 1.19; CI 1.05-1.34) compared to no folic acid supplementation pre-conception. There was no significant association with PTD when supplementation was initiated within 8 weeks pre-conception (HR 1.01; CI 0.88-1.16). All analyses were adjusted for maternal characteristics and socioeconomic, health and dietary variables.
Our findings do not support a protective effect of dietary folate intake or folic acid supplementation on spontaneous PTD. Pre-conceptional folic acid supplementation starting more than 8 weeks before conception was associated with an increased risk of PTD. These results require further investigation before discussing an expansion of folic acid supplementation guidelines.
Pregnancy; Preterm delivery; Preterm birth; Gestational length; Folate; Folic acid supplementation
Few studies have evaluated the prevalence of HBV in the general Cameroonian population or among antenatal attendants. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, correlates and patterns of Hepatitis B surface antigen among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Yaounde-Cameroon.
This was a cross-sectional multicenter study carried out in a referral hospital and two secondary hospitals in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. The study lasted 15 months (March 2011 to June 2012), and recruited 959 pregnant women. Patient recruitment was consecutive. The HBsAg was tested using the Monalisa HBsAg Ultra ELISA kit. Other hepatitis B markers were equally tested.
We used the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 14.0 software to conduct a quantitative analysis of the derived data. Simple descriptive statistics such as means, standard deviations, and proportions were used to describe the data. We tested for association in categorical variables using the chi-squared (χ2) test. The odds ratio (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were used to summarise the strength of association between specific binary exposure and outcome variables. The level of statistical significance for the study was set at p < 0.05.
The prevalence of hepatitis B infection (HBsAg) among antenatal clinic attenders in our setting was 7.7%. Amongst these women, just 5.4% were previously aware of their HBsAg status. The rate of HBV infectivity was high, with 28% of HBsAg positive women having evidence of HBeAg in their plasma, and up to 45.8% of these women lacking antibodies against hepatitis B e antigen (anti-HBe). About 41% of the pregnant women had had previous contact with HBV as evidenced by the positive status for anti-HBc.
Just 2.7% of the pregnant women had previously been vaccinated against HBV. The mean age for HBsAg positivity in our setting was 26.9 ±4.7 years, and the most affected age group was the 25 – 29 years age group. There was no statistically significant association between age or other socio-demographic risk factors and HBsAg status. Numerous risk factors for HBV acquisition exists in our settings, but amongst these, only a history of a contact with hepatitis B infection was found to be significantly associated with HBsAg positivity (OR 1.63, 95% C.I 1.15-2.30). Finally, the coinfection rate of HBV/HIV was 0.74%.
The prevalence of hepatitis B among pregnant women in Cameroon is high, and the pattern tends towards high infectivity and therefore increased risk of perinatal HBV transmission. These highlight the need to step up preventive efforts against hepatitis B infection and perinatal HBV transmission in our community.
Hepatitis B; Pregnancy; Prevalence; Risk factors; Low resource setting
In Western countries, active maternal smoking during pregnancy is recognized as the most important preventable risk factor for adverse birth outcomes. However, the effect of passive maternal smoking is less clear and has not been extensively studied. In Japan, there has been only one epidemiological study which examined the effects of active smoking during early pregnancy on birth outcomes although the effects of passive smoking were not assessed.
Study subjects were 1565 mothers with singleton pregnancies and the babies born from these pregnancies. Data on active maternal smoking status in the first, second, and third trimesters and maternal environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure at home and work were collected with self-administered questionnaires.
Compared with children born to mothers who had never smoked during pregnancy, children born to mothers who had smoked throughout their pregnancy had a significantly increased risk of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) (adjusted odd ratio [OR] = 2.87; 95% confidence interval: 1.11 − 6.56). However, active maternal smoking only in the first trimester and active maternal smoking in the second and/or third trimesters but not throughout pregnancy were not significantly associated with SGA. With regard to the risk of preterm birth, the adjusted ORs for the above-mentioned three categories were not significant; however, the positive linear trend was significant (P for trend = 0.048). No significant association was found between active maternal smoking during pregnancy and the risk of low birth weight. There was a significant inverse relationship between active maternal smoking during pregnancy and birth weight; newborns of mothers who had smoked throughout pregnancy had an adjusted mean birth weight reduction of 169.6 g. When classifying babies by gender, a significant positive association between active maternal smoking throughout pregnancy and the risk of SGA was found only in male newborns, however, the interaction was not significant. Maternal ETS exposure at home or work was not significantly associated with any birth outcomes.
This is the first study in Japan to show that active maternal smoking throughout pregnancy, but not during the first trimester, is significantly associated with an increased risk of SGA and a decrease in birth weight. Thus, women who smoke should quit smoking as soon as possible after conception.
To determine the major predictive factors for fetal acidemia in placental abruption.
A retrospective review of pregnancies with placental abruption was performed using a logistic regression model. Fetal acidemia was defined as a pH of less than 7.0 in umbilical artery. The severe abruption score, which was derived from a linear discriminant function, was calculated to determine the probability of fetal acidemia.
Fetal acidemia was seen in 43 survivors (43/222, 19%). A logistic regression model showed bradycardia (OR (odds ratio) 50.34, 95% CI 11.07 – 228.93), and late decelerations (OR 15.13, 3.05 – 74.97), but not abnormal ultrasonographic findings were to be associated with the occurrence of fetal acidemia. The severe abruption score was calculated for the occurrence of fetal acidemia, using 6 items including vaginal bleeding, gestational age, abdominal pain, abnormal ultrasonographic finding, late decelerations, and bradycardia.
An abnormal FHR pattern, especially bradycardia is the most significant risk factor in placental abruption predicting fetal acidemia, regardless of the presence of abnormal ultrasonographic findings or gestational age.
Bradycardia; Fetal acidemia; Fetal heart rate monitoring; Placental abruption; Severe abruption score
Early-onset Group B haemolytic streptococcus infection (EOGBS) is an important cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in the first week of life. Primary prevention of EOGBS is possible with intra-partum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP.) Different prevention strategies are used internationally based on identifying pregnant women at risk, either by screening for GBS colonisation and/or by identifying risk factors for EOGBS in pregnancy or labour. A theoretical cost-effectiveness study has shown that a strategy with IAP based on five risk factors (risk-based strategy) or based on a positive screening test in combination with one or more risk factors (combination strategy) was the most cost-effective approach in the Netherlands. IAP for all pregnant women with a positive culture in pregnancy (screening strategy) and treatment in line with the current Dutch guideline (IAP after establishing a positive culture in case of pre-labour rupture of membranes or preterm birth and immediate IAP in case of intra-partum fever, previous sibling with EOGBS or GBS bacteriuria), were not cost-effective. Cost-effectiveness was based on the assumption of 100% adherence to each strategy. However, adherence in daily practice will be lower and therefore have an effect on cost-effectiveness.
The aims are to: a.) implement the current Dutch guideline, the risk-based strategy and the combination strategy in three pilot regions and b.) study the effects of these strategies in daily practice. Regions where all the care providers in maternity care implement the allocated strategy will be randomised. Before the introduction of the strategy, there will be a pre-test (use of the current guideline) involving 105 pregnant women per region. This will be followed by a post-test (use of the allocated strategy) involving 315 women per region. The outcome measures are: 1.) adherence to the specific prevention strategy and the determinants of adherence among care providers and pregnant women, 2.) outcomes in pregnant women and their babies and 3.) the costs of each strategy in relation to the effects.
This study will provide recommendations for the implementation of the most cost-effective prevention strategy for EOGBS in the Netherlands on the basis of feasibility in daily practice.
Dutch Trial Register, NTR3965
Early-onset Group B streptococcus; Prevention; Dutch maternity care; Implementation; Guidelines
Antenatal preparation programmes are recommended worldwide to promote a healthy pregnancy and greater autonomy during labor and delivery, prevent physical discomfort and high levels of anxiety. The objective of this study was to evaluate effectiveness and safety of a birth preparation programme to minimize lumbopelvic pain, urinary incontinence, anxiety, and increase physical activity during pregnancy as well as to compare its effects on perinatal outcomes comparing two groups of nulliparous women.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 197 low risk nulliparous women aged 16 to 40 years, with gestational age ≥ 18 weeks. Participants were randomly allocated to participate in a birth preparation programme (BPP; n=97) or a control group (CG; n=100). The intervention was performed on the days of prenatal visits, and consisted of physical exercises, educational activities and instructions on exercises to be performed at home. The control group followed a routine of prenatal care. Primary outcomes were urinary incontinence, lumbopelvic pain, physical activity, and anxiety. Secondary outcomes were perinatal variables.
The risk of urinary incontinence in BPP participants was significantly lower at 30 weeks of pregnancy (BPP 42.7%, CG 62.2%; relative risk [RR] 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.51-0.93) and at 36 weeks of pregnancy (BPP 41.2%, CG 68.4%; RR 0.60; 95%CI 0.45-0.81). Participation in the BPP encouraged women to exercise during pregnancy (p=0.009). No difference was found between the groups regarding to anxiety level, lumbopelvic pain, type or duration of delivery and weight or vitality of the newborn infant.
The BPP was effective in controlling urinary incontinence and to encourage the women to exercise during pregnancy with no adverse effects to pregnant women or the fetuses.
Antenatal exercises; Birth preparation program; Urinary incontinence; Low back pain; Pelvic pain; Anxiety; Pregnancy
Most countries recommend planned cesarean section in breech deliveries, which is considered safer than vaginal delivery. As one of few countries in the western world Norway has continued to practice planned vaginal delivery in selected women. The aim of this study is to evaluate prospectively registered neonatal and maternal outcomes in term singleton breech deliveries in a Norwegian hospital during a ten years period. We aim to compare maternal and neonatal outcomes in term breech pregnancies subjected either to planned vaginal or elective cesarean section.
A prospective registration study including 568 women with term breech deliveries (>37 weeks) consecutively registered at Sorlandet Hospital Kristiansand between 2001 and 2011. Fetal and maternal outcomes were compared according to delivery method; planned vaginal delivery versus planned cesarean section.
Of 568 women, elective cesarean section was planned in 279 (49%) cases and vaginal delivery was planned in 289 (51%) cases. Acute cesarean section was performed in 104 of the planned vaginal deliveries (36.3%). There were no neonatal deaths. Two cases of serious neonatal morbidity were reported in the planned vaginal group. One infant had seizures, brachial plexus injury, and cephalhematoma. The other infant had 5-minutes Apgar < 4. Twenty-nine in the planned vaginal group (10.0%) and eight in the planned cesarean section group (2.9%) (p < 0.001) were transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit. However, only one infant was admitted for ≥4 days. According to follow-up data (median six years) none of these infants had long-term sequelae. Regarding maternal morbidity, blood loss was the only variable that was significantly higher in the planned cesarean section group versus in the vaginal delivery group (p < 0.001).
Strict guidelines were followed in all cases. There were no neonatal deaths. Two infants had serious neonatal morbidity in the planned vaginal group without long-term sequelae.
For clinicians, it is important to rely on accurate laboratory results for patient care and optimal use of health care resources. We sought to explore our observations that urine protein:creatinine ratios (PrCr) ≥30 mg/mmol are seen not infrequently associated with normal pregnancy outcome.
Urine samples were collected prospectively from 160 pregnant women attending high-risk maternity clinics at a tertiary care facility. Urinary protein was measured using a pyrocatechol violet assay and urinary creatinine by an enzymatic method on Vitros analysers. Maternal/perinatal outcomes were abstracted from hospital records.
91/233 (39.1%) samples had a PrCr ≥30 mg/mmol, especially when urinary creatinine concentration was <3 mM (94.1%) vs. ≥3 mM (16.4%) (p < 0.001). When using the last sample before delivery, 47/160 (29.4%) had a PrCr ≥30 mg/mmol in diluted urine vs. only 17/160 (15.4%) in more concentrated urine (p < 0.001); PrCr positive results were also more frequent among the 32 (20.0%) women with known normal pregnancy outcome (90.9% vs. 0) (p < 0.001). Using the same analyser, 0.12 g/L urinary protein was ‘detected’ in deionised water. Re-analysis of data from two cohorts revealed substantially less inflation of PrCr in dilute urine using a pyrogallol red assay.
Random urinary PrCr was overestimated in dilute urine when tested using a common pyrocatechol violet dye-based method. This effect was reduced in cohorts when pyrogallol red assays were used. False positive results can impact on diagnosis and patient care. This highlights the need for both clinical and laboratory quality improvement projects and standardization of laboratory protein measurement.
Hypertension; Pre-eclampsia; Pregnancy; Protein:creatinine ratio; Proteinuria measurement; Laboratory
Excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) is associated with short- and long-term health problems among mothers and their offspring. There is a strong need for effective intervention strategies targeting excessive GWG to prevent adverse outcomes.
We performed a cluster-randomized controlled intervention trial in eight gynecological practices evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention presented to all pregnant women; 250 healthy, pregnant women were recruited for the study. The intervention program consisted of two individually delivered counseling sessions focusing on diet, physical activity, and weight monitoring. The primary outcome was the proportion of pregnant women exceeding weight gain recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Secondary outcome variables were maternal weight retention and short-term obstetric and neonatal outcomes.
The intervention resulted in a lower proportion of women exceeding IOM guidelines among women in the intervention group (38%) compared with the control group (60%) (odds ratio (OR): 0.5; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.3 to 0.9) without prompting an increase in the proportion of pregnancies with suboptimal weight gain (19% vs. 21%). Participants in the intervention group gained significantly less weight than those in the control group. Only 17% of the women in the intervention group showed substantial weight retention of more than 5 kg compared with 31% of those in the control group at month four postpartum (pp) (OR: 0.5; 95% CI: 0.2 to 0.9). There were no significant differences in obstetric and neonatal outcomes.
Lifestyle counseling given to pregnant women reduced the proportion of pregnancies with excessive GWG without increasing suboptimal weight gain, and may exert favorable effects on pp weight retention.
German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00003801.
Gestational weight gain (GWG); Lifestyle intervention; Pregnancy; Obesity prevention and management; Feasibility study
Pregnancy in adolescence tends to repeat over generations. This event has been little studied in middle and low-income societies undergoing a rapid epidemiological transition. To assess this association it is important to adjust for socioeconomic conditions at different points in lifetime. Therefore, the aim of this study is to analyze the independent effect of adolescent childbearing in a generation on its recurrence in the subsequent generation, after adjusting for socioeconomic status at different points in life.
The study was conducted on a prospective cohort of singleton liveborn females from the city of Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, evaluated in 1978/79, and their daughters assessed in 2002/04. A total of 1059 mother-daughter pairs were evaluated. The women who had their first childbirth before 20 years of age were considered to be adolescent mothers. The risk of childbearing in adolescence for the daughter was modeled as a function of the occurrence of teenage childbearing in her mother, after adjustment for socio-demographic variables in a Poisson regression model.
The rate of childbearing during adolescence was 31.4% in 1978/79 and 17.1% in 2002/04. Among the daughters of the 1st generation adolescent mothers, this rate was 26.7%, as opposed to 12.7% among the daughters of non adolescent mothers. After adjustments the risk of adolescent childbearing for the 2nd generation was 35% higher for women whose mothers had been pregnant during adolescence – RR = 1.35 (95% CI 1.04-1.74).
Adolescent childbearing in the 1st generation was a predictor of adolescent childbearing in the 2nd, regardless of socioeconomic factors determined at different points in lifetime.
Adolescent pregnancy; Socioeconomic predictors; Birth cohort
Complex interventions in obese pregnant women should be theoretically based, feasible and shown to demonstrate anticipated behavioural change prior to inception of large randomised controlled trials (RCTs). The aim was to determine if a) a complex intervention in obese pregnant women leads to anticipated changes in diet and physical activity behaviours, and b) to refine the intervention protocol through process evaluation of intervention fidelity.
We undertook a pilot RCT of a complex intervention in obese pregnant women, comparing routine antenatal care with an intervention to reduce dietary glycaemic load and saturated fat intake, and increase physical activity. Subjects included 183 obese pregnant women (mean BMI 36.3 kg/m2).
Diet was assessed by repeated triple pass 24-hour dietary recall and physical activity by accelerometry and questionnaire, at 16+0 to 18+6 and at 27+0 to 28+6 weeks’ gestation in women in control and intervention arms. Attitudes to behaviour change and quality of life were assessed and a process evaluation undertaken. The full RCT protocol was undertaken to assess feasibility.
Compared to women in the control arm, women in the intervention arm had a significant reduction in dietary glycaemic load (33 points, 95% CI −47 to −20), (p < 0.001) and saturated fat intake (−1.6% energy, 95% CI −2.8 to −0. 3) at 28 weeks’ gestation. Objectively measured physical activity did not change. Physical discomfort and sustained barriers to physical activity were common at 28 weeks’ gestation. Process evaluation identified barriers to recruitment, group attendance and compliance, leading to modification of intervention delivery.
This pilot trial of a complex intervention in obese pregnant women suggests greater potential for change in dietary intake than for change in physical activity, and through process evaluation illustrates the considerable advantage of performing an exploratory trial of a complex intervention in obese pregnant women before undertaking a large RCT.
Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN89971375
Pregnancy; Obesity; Diet; Physical activity; Complex intervention; Evaluation
In settings where sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV prevalence is high, the postpartum period is a time of increased biological susceptibility to pregnancy related sepsis. Enabling women living with HIV to avoid unintended pregnancies during the postpartum period can reduce vertical transmission and maternal mortality associated with HIV infection. We describe family planning (FP) practices and fertility desires of HIV-positive and HIV-negative postpartum women in Swaziland.
Data are drawn from a baseline survey of a four-year multi country prospective cohort study under the Integra Initiative, which is measuring the benefits and costs of providing integrated HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Kenya and Swaziland. We compare data from 386 HIV-positive women and 483 HIV-negative women recruited in Swaziland between February and August 2010. Data was collected on hand-held personal digital assistants (PDAs) covering fertility desires, mistimed or unwanted pregnancies and contraceptive use prior to their most recent pregnancy. Data were analysed using Stata 10.0. Descriptive statistics were conducted using the chi square test for categorical variables. Measures of effect were assessed using multivariate fixed effects logistic regression model accounting for clustering at facility level and the results are presented as adjusted odds ratios.
Majority (69.2%) of postpartum women reported that their most recent pregnancy was unintended with no differences between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women: OR: 0.96 (95% CI) (0.70, 1.32). Although, there were significant differences between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women who reported that their previous pregnancy was unwanted, (20.7% vs. 13.5%, p = 0.004), when adjusted this was not significant OR: 1.43 (0.92, 1.91). 47.2% of HIV-positive women said it was mistimed compared to 52.5%, OR: 0.79 (0.59, 1.06). 37.9% of all women said they do not want another child. Younger women were more likely to have unwanted pregnancies: OR: 1.12 (1.07, 1.12), while they were less likely to have mistimed births; OR: 0.82 (0.70, 0.97). Those with tertiary education were less likely to have unwanted or mistimed pregnancies OR: 0.30 (0.11, 0.86). Half of HIV-positive women and more than a third of HIV-negative women reported that they had been using a FP method when they became pregnant with no differences between the groups: OR: 1.61 (0.82,3.41). Only short-acting methods were available to these women before the most recent pregnancy; and available during the postpartum visit. One fifth of all women received an FP method during the current visit. Among the four fifths who did not receive a method 17.3% reported they were already using a method or were breastfeeding. HIV-positive women were more likely to have already started a method than HIV-negative women (20% vs. 15%, p = 0.089).
There are few differences overall between the experiences of both HIV-positive and negative women in terms of FP experiences, unintended pregnancy and services received during the early postpartum period in Swaziland. Women attending postpartum facilities are receiving satisfactory care. Access to a wider range of effective methods is urgently needed if high levels of unintended pregnancy are to be reduced among HIV-positive and HIV-negative women living in Swaziland.
Pregnancy; Fertility desires; Postpartum care; Family planning; HIV
In Norway almost all pregnant women attend one routine ultrasound examination. Detection of fetal structural anomalies triggers psychological stress responses in the women affected. Despite the frequent use of ultrasound examination in pregnancy, little attention has been devoted to the psychological response of the expectant father following the detection of fetal anomalies. This is important for later fatherhood and the psychological interaction within the couple. We aimed to describe paternal psychological responses shortly after detection of structural fetal anomalies by ultrasonography, and to compare paternal and maternal responses within the same couple.
A prospective observational study was performed at a tertiary referral centre for fetal medicine. Pregnant women with a structural fetal anomaly detected by ultrasound and their partners (study group,n=155) and 100 with normal ultrasound findings (comparison group) were included shortly after sonographic examination (inclusion period: May 2006-February 2009). Gestational age was >12 weeks. We used psychometric questionnaires to assess self-reported social dysfunction, health perception, and psychological distress (intrusion, avoidance, arousal, anxiety, and depression): Impact of Event Scale. General Health Questionnaire and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Fetal anomalies were classified according to severity and diagnostic or prognostic ambiguity at the time of assessment.
Median (range) gestational age at inclusion in the study and comparison group was 19 (12–38) and 19 (13–22) weeks, respectively. Men and women in the study group had significantly higher levels of psychological distress than men and women in the comparison group on all psychometric endpoints. The lowest level of distress in the study group was associated with the least severe anomalies with no diagnostic or prognostic ambiguity (p < 0.033). Men had lower scores than women on all psychometric outcome variables. The correlation in distress scores between men and women was high in the fetal anomaly group (p < 0.001), but non-significant in the comparison group.
Severity of the anomaly including ambiguity significantly influenced paternal response. Men reported lower scores on all psychometric outcomes than women.
This knowledge may facilitate support for both expectant parents to reduce strain within the family after detection of a fetal anomaly.
Fetal anomaly; Paternal psychological response; Pregnancy; Prenatal diagnosis; Psychological distress; Ultrasonography
Antenatal care (ANC) is a key strategy to decreasing maternal mortality in low-resource settings. ANC clinics provide resources to improve nutrition and health knowledge and promote preventive health practices. We sought to compare the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) among women seeking and not-seeking ANC in rural Kenya.
Data from a community-based cross-sectional survey conducted in Western Province, Kenya were used. Nutrition knowledge (NKS), health knowledge (HKS), attitude score (AS), and dietary diversity score (DDS) were constructed indices. χ2 test and Student’s t-test were used to compare proportions and means, respectively, to assess the difference in KAP among pregnant women attending and not-attending ANC clinics. Multiple regression analyses were used to assess the impact of the number of ANC visits (none, <4, ≥4) on knowledge and practice scores, adjusting for maternal socio-demographic confounders, such as age, gestational age, education level and household wealth index.
Among the 979 pregnant women in the survey, 59% had attended ANC clinics while 39% had not. The mean (±SD) NKS was 4.6 (1.9) out of 11, HKS was 6.2 (1.7) out of 12, DDS was 4.9 (1.4) out of 12, and AS was 7.4 (2.2) out of 10. Nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and DDS were not significantly different between ANC clinic attending and non-attending women. Among women who attended ANC clinics, 82.6% received malaria and/or antihelmintic treatment, compared to 29.6% of ANC clinic non-attendees. Higher number of ANC clinic visits and higher maternal education level were significantly positively associated with maternal health knowledge.
Substantial opportunities exist for antenatal KAP improvement among women in Western Kenya, some of which could occur with greater ANC attendance. Further research is needed to understand multi-level factors that may affect maternal knowledge and practices.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP); Developing countries; Antenatal care; Kenya
Reduced length of hospital stay following childbirth has placed increasing demands on community-based post-birth care services in Australia. Queensland is one of several states in Australia in which nurses are employed privately by pharmacies to provide maternal and child health care, yet little is known about their prevalence, attributes or role. The aims of this paper are to (1) explore the experiences and perspectives of a sample of pharmacy nurses and GPs who provide maternal and child health services in Queensland, Australia (2) describe the professional qualifications of the sample of pharmacy nurses, and (3) describe and analyze the location of pharmacy nurse clinics in relation to publicly provided services.
As part of a state-wide evaluation of post-birth care in Queensland, Australia, case studies were conducted in six regional and metropolitan areas which included interviews with 47 key informants involved in postnatal care provision. We report on the prevalence of pharmacy nurses in the case study sites, and on the key informant interviews with 19 pharmacy nurses and six General Practitioners (GPs). The interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically.
The prevalence of pharmacy nurses appears to be highest where public services are least well integrated, coordinated and/or accessible. Pharmacy nurses report high levels of demand for their services, which they argue fill a number of gaps in the public provision of maternal and child health care including accessibility, continuity of carer, flexibility and convenient location. The concerns of pharmacy nurses include lack of privacy for consultations, limited capacity for client record keeping and follow up, and little opportunity for professional development, while GPs expressed concerns about inadequate public care and about the lack of regulation of pharmacy based care.
Pharmacy based clinics are a market-driven response to gaps in the public provision of care. Currently there are no minimum standards or qualifications required of pharmacy nurses, no oversight or regulation of their practice, and no formal mechanisms for communicating with other providers of postnatal care. We discuss the implications and possible mechanisms to enhance best-practice care.
Postnatal care; Pharmacy nurse; Child health clinic
Significant health inequities exist around maternal and infant health for Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The infants of Māori are more likely to die in their first year of life and also have higher rates of hospital admission for respiratory illnesses, with the greatest burden of morbidity being due to bronchiolitis in those under one year of age. Timely immunisations can prevent some respiratory related hospitalisations, although for Māori, the proportion of infants with age appropriate immunisations are lower than for non-Māori. This paper describes the protocol for a retrospective cohort study that linked local hospital and national health information datasets to explore maternal risk factors and obstetric outcomes in relation to respiratory admissions and timely immunisations for infants of Māori and non-Māori women.
The study population included pregnant women who gave birth in hospital in one region of New Zealand between 1995 and 2009. Routinely collected local hospital data were linked via a unique identifier (National Health Index number) to national health information databases to assess rates of post-natal admissions and access to health services for Māori and non-Māori mothers and infants. The two primary outcomes for the study are: 1. The rates of respiratory hospitalisations of infants (≤ 1 yr of age) calculated for infants of both Māori and non-Māori women (for mothers under 20 years of age, and overall) accounting for relationship to parity, maternal age, socioeconomic deprivation index, maternal smoking status. 2. The proportion of infants with age appropriate immunisations at six and 12 months, calculated for both infants born to Māori women and infants born to non-Māori women, accounting for relationship to parity, maternal age, socioeconomic deprivation index, smoking status, and other risk factors.
Analysis of a wide range of routinely collected health information in which maternal and infant data are linked will allow us to directly explore the relationship between key maternal factors and infant health, and provide a greater understanding of the causes of health inequalities that exist between the infants of Māori and non-Māori mothers.
Health disparities; Indigenous health; Routinely collected health data; Health information datasets; Maternity care; Infant health; Hospital admissions; Respiratory diseases; Immunisation
Maternal overweight and obesity are associated with slower labour progress and increased caesarean delivery for failure to progress. Obesity is also associated with hyperlipidaemia and cholesterol inhibits myometrial contractility in vitro. Our aim was, among overweight and obese nulliparous women, to investigate 1. the role of early pregnancy serum cholesterol and 2. clinical risk factors associated with first stage caesarean for failure to progress at term.
Secondary data analysis from a prospective cohort of overweight/obese New Zealand and Australian nullipara recruited to the SCOPE study. Women who laboured at term and delivered vaginally (n=840) or required first stage caesarean for failure to progress (n=196) were included. Maternal characteristics and serum cholesterol at 14–16 weeks’ of gestation were compared according to delivery mode in univariable and multivariable analyses (adjusted for BMI, maternal age and height, obstetric care type, induction of labour and gestation at delivery ≥41 weeks).
Total cholesterol at 14–16 weeks was not higher among women requiring first stage caesarean for failure to progress compared to those with vaginal delivery (5.55 ± 0.92 versus 5.67 ± 0.85 mmol/L, p= 0.10 respectively). Antenatal risk factors for first stage caesarean for failure to progress in overweight and obese women were BMI (adjusted odds ratio [aOR (95% CI)] 1.15 (1.07-1.22) per 5 unit increase, maternal age 1.37 (1.17-1.61) per 5 year increase, height 1.09 (1.06-1.12) per 1cm reduction), induction of labour 1.94 (1.38-2.73) and prolonged pregnancy ≥41 weeks 1.64 (1.14-2.35).
Elevated maternal cholesterol in early pregnancy is not a risk factor for first stage caesarean for failure to progress in overweight/obese women. Other clinically relevant risk factors identified are: increasing maternal BMI, increasing maternal age, induction of labour and prolonged pregnancy ≥41 weeks’ of gestation.
Cholesterol; Antenatal; Delivery; Obesity; Labour
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is an increasing problem world-wide. Lifestyle interventions and/or vitamin D supplementation might help prevent GDM in some women.
Pregnant women at risk of GDM (BMI≥29 (kg/m2)) from 9 European countries will be invited to participate and consent obtained before 19+6 weeks of gestation. After giving informed consent, women without GDM will be included (based on IADPSG criteria: fasting glucose<5.1mmol; 1 hour glucose <10.0 mmol; 2 hour glucose <8.5 mmol) and randomized to one of the 8 intervention arms using a 2×(2×2) factorial design: (1) healthy eating (HE), 2) physical activity (PA), 3) HE+PA, 4) control, 5) HE+PA+vitamin D, 6) HE+PA+placebo, 7) vitamin D alone, 8) placebo alone), pre-stratified for each site. In total, 880 women will be included with 110 women allocated to each arm. Between entry and 35 weeks of gestation, women allocated to a lifestyle intervention will receive 5 face-to-face, and 4 telephone coaching sessions, based on the principles of motivational interviewing. The lifestyle intervention includes a discussion about the risks of GDM, a weight gain target <5kg and either 7 healthy eating ‘messages’ and/or 5 physical activity ‘messages’ depending on randomization. Fidelity is monitored by the use of a personal digital assistance (PDA) system. Participants randomized to the vitamin D intervention receive either 1600 IU vitamin D or placebo for daily intake until delivery. Data is collected at baseline measurement, at 24–28 weeks, 35–37 weeks of gestation and after delivery. Primary outcome measures are gestational weight gain, fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, with a range of obstetric secondary outcome measures including birth weight.
DALI is a unique Europe-wide randomised controlled trial, which will gain insight into preventive measures against the development of GDM in overweight and obese women.
Gestational diabetes mellitus; Pregnancy; Lifestyle intervention; Randomised controlled trial; Healthy eating; Physical activity; Overweight; Motivational interviewing; Prevention; Vitamin D
Maternal morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa remains high despite global efforts to reduce it. In order to lower maternal morbidity and mortality in the immediate term, reduction of delay in the provision of quality obstetric care is of prime importance. The aim of this study is to assess the occurrence of severe maternal morbidity and mortality in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania as proposed by the WHO near miss approach and to assess implementation levels of key evidence-based interventions in women experiencing severe maternal morbidity and mortality.
A prospective cross-sectional study was performed from November 2009 until November 2011 in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. All maternal near misses and maternal deaths were included. As not all WHO near miss criteria were applicable, a modification was used to identify cases. Data were collected from medical records using a structured data abstraction form. Descriptive frequencies were calculated for demographic and clinical variables, outcome indicators, underlying causes, and process indicators.
In the two-year period there were 216 maternal near misses and 32 maternal deaths. The hospital-based maternal mortality ratio was 350 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births (95% CI 243–488). The maternal near miss incidence ratio was 23.6 per 1,000 live births, with an overall case fatality rate of 12.9%. Oxytocin for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage was used in 96 of 201 women and oxytocin for treatment of postpartum haemorrhage was used in 38 of 66 women. Furthermore, eclampsia was treated with magnesium sulphate in 87% of all cases. Seventy-four women underwent caesarean section, of which 25 women did not receive prophylactic antibiotics. Twenty-eight of 30 women who were admitted with sepsis received parenteral antibiotics. The majority of the cases with uterine rupture (62%) occurred in the hospital.
Maternal morbidity and mortality remain challenging problems in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. Key evidence-based interventions are not implemented in women with severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Progress can be made through up scaling the use of evidence-based interventions, such as the use of oxytocin for prevention and treatment of postpartum haemorrhage.
Maternal near miss; Severe acute maternal morbidity; Maternal mortality; Quality of obstetric care; WHO near miss approach; WHO near miss criteria
The epidural route is still considered the gold standard for labour analgesia, although it is not without serious consequences when incorrect placement goes unrecognized, e.g. in case of intravascular, intrathecal and subdural placements. Until now there has not been a viable alternative to epidural analgesia especially in view of the neonatal outcome and the need for respiratory support when long-acting opioids are used via the parenteral route. Pethidine and meptazinol are far from ideal having been described as providing rather sedation than analgesia, affecting the cardiotocograph (CTG), causing fetal acidosis and having active metabolites with prolonged half-lives especially in the neonate. Despite these obvious shortcomings, intramuscular and intravenously administered pethidine and comparable substances are still frequently used in delivery units.
Since the end of the 90ths remifentanil administered in a patient-controlled mode (PCA) had been reported as a useful alternative for labour analgesia in those women who either don’t want, can’t have or don’t need epidural analgesia.
In view of the need for conversion to central neuraxial blocks and the analgesic effect remifentanil has been demonstrated to be superior to pethidine. Despite being less effective in terms of the resulting pain scores, clinical studies suggest that the satisfaction with analgesia may be comparable to that obtained with epidural analgesia. Owing to this fact, remifentanil has gained a place in modern labour analgesia in many institutions.
However, the fact that remifentanil may cause harm should not be forgotten when the use of this potent mu-agonist is considered for the use in labouring women. In the setting of one-to-one midwifery care, appropriate monitoring and providing that enough experience exists with this potent opioid and the treatment of potential complications, remifentanil PCA is a useful option in addition to epidural analgesia and other central neuraxial blocks. Already described serious consequences should remind us not refer to remifentanil PCA as a “poor man’s epidural” and to safely administer remifentanil with an appropriate indication.
Therefore, the authors conclude that economic considerations and potential cost-savings in conjunction with remifentanil PCA may not be appropriate main endpoints when studying this valuable method for labour analgesia.
Remifentanil; Epidural Analgesia; Labour Pain; Labour Analgesia; Patient Controlled Analgesia; Patient Satisfaction; Healthcare Cost; Healthcare Economics
Caesarean section (CS) has short and long-term health effects for both the woman and her baby. One of the greatest contributors to the CS rate is elective repeat CS. Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) is an option for many women; despite this the proportion of women attempting VBAC remains low. Potentially the relationship that women have with their healthcare professional may have a major influence on the uptake of VBAC. Models of service delivery, which enable an individual approach to care, may make a difference to the uptake of VBAC. Midwifery continuity of care could be an effective model to encourage and support women to choose VBAC.
A randomised, controlled trial will be undertaken. Eligible pregnant women, whose most recent previous birth was by lower-segment CS, will be randomly allocated 1:1 to an intervention group or control group. The intervention provides midwifery continuity of care to women through pregnancy, labour, birth and early postnatal care. The control group will receive standard hospital care from different midwives through pregnancy, labour, birth and early postnatal care. Both groups will receive an obstetric consultation during pregnancy and at any other time if required. Clinical care will follow the same guidelines in both groups.
This study will determine whether midwifery continuity of care influences the decision to attempt a VBAC and impacts on mode of birth, maternal experiences with care and the health of the neonate. Outcomes from this study might influence the way maternity care is provided to this group of women and thus impact on the CS rate. This information will provide high level evidence to policy makers, health service managers and practitioners who are working towards addressing the increased rate of CS.
This trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12611001214921
Vaginal birth; Obstetrics; Caesarean section; Midwifery care; Vaginal birth after caesarean
Over the past decades, attachment research has predominantly focused on the attachment relationship that infants develop with their parents or that adults had with their own parents. Far less is known about the development of feelings of attachment in parents towards their children. The present study examined a) whether a simple non-verbal (i.e., pictorial) measure of attachment (Pictorial Representation of Attachment Measure: PRAM) is a valid instrument to assess parental representations of the antenatal relationship with the fetus in expectant women and men and b) whether factors such as gender of the parent, parity, and age are systematically related to parental bonding during pregnancy.
At 26 weeks gestational age, 352 primi- or multiparous pregnant women and 268 partners from a community based sample filled in the PRAM and the M/PAAS (Maternal/Paternal Antenatal Attachment Scale, Condon, 1985/1993).
Results show that the PRAM was significantly positively associated to a self-report questionnaire of antenatal attachment in both expectant mothers and fathers. Age and parity were both found significantly related to M/PAAS and PRAM scores.
The present findings provide support that the PRAM is as a valid, quick, and easy-to-administer instrument of parent-infant bonding. However, further research focusing on its capacity as a screening instrument (to identify parents with serious bonding problems) and its sensitivity to change (necessary for the use in evaluation of intervention studies) is needed, in order to prove its clinical value.
Antenatal; Attachment; Mother; Father; Pregnancy; Fetus
Despite the pregnancy complications related to home births, homes remain yet major place of delivery in Pakistan and 65 percent of totals births take place at home. This work analyses the determinants of place of delivery in Pakistan.
Multivariate Logistic regression is used for analysis. Data are extracted from Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (2006–07). Based on information on last birth preceding 5 years of survey, we construct dichotomous dependent variable i.e. whether women deliver at home (Coded=1) or at health facility (coded=2).
Bivariate analysis shows that 72% (p≤0.000) women from rural area and 81% women residing in Baluchistan delivered babies at home. Furthermore 75% women with no formal education, 81% (p≤0.000) women working in agricultural sector, 75% (p≤0.000) of Women who have 5 and more children and almost 77% (p≤0.000) who do not discussed pregnancy related issues with their husbands are found delivering babies at home. Multivariate analysis documents that mothers having lower levels of education, economic status and empowerment, belonging to rural area, residing in provinces other than Punjab, working in agriculture sector and mothers who are young are more likely to give births at home.
A trend for home births, among Pakistani women, can be traced in lower levels of education, lower autonomy, poverty driven working in agriculture sector, higher costs of using health facilities and regional backwardness.
Reproductive health; Place of delivery; Pakistan; Logistic regression
Depression in pregnancy has adverse health outcomes for mothers and children. The magnitude and risk factors of maternal depression during pregnancy is less known in developing countries. This study examines the association between pregnancy intention, social support and depressive symptoms in pregnancy in Ethiopia.
Data for this study comes from a baseline survey conducted as part of a community- based cohort study that involved 627 pregnant women from a Demographic Surveillance Site (DSS) in Southwestern Ethiopia. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to measure depressive symptoms during pregnancy. Data on depressive symptoms, pregnancy intention, social support and other explanatory variables were gathered using an interviewer-administered structured questionnaire. The association between independent variables and depressive symptom during pregnancy was assessed using multivariable logistic regression.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy was 19.9% (95% CI, 16.8-23.1), using EPDS cut off point of 13 and above. The mean score on the EPDS was 8, ranging from 0 to 25 (SD ±5.4). Women reporting that the pregnancy was unwanted were almost twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms compared with women with a wanted pregnancy. (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 1.96, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.04-3.69) Women who reported moderate (AOR = 0.27; 95% CI 0.14-0.53) and high (AOR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.11-0.47) social support during pregnancy were significantly less likely to report depressive symptoms. Women who experienced household food insecurity and intimate partner physical violence during pregnancy were also more likely to report depressive symptoms.
About one in five pregnant women in the study area reported symptoms of depression. While unwanted pregnancy increases women’s risk of depression, increased social support plays a buffering role from depression. Thus, identifying women’s pregnancy intention and the extent of social support they receive during antenatal care visits is needed to provide appropriate counseling and improve women’s mental health during pregnancy.
Depressive symptoms; Social support; Pregnancy; Violence; Food insecurity; Ethiopia
Every year an estimated three million neonates die globally and two hundred thousand of these deaths occur in Pakistan. Majority of these neonates die in rural areas of underdeveloped countries from preventable causes (infections, complications related to low birth weight and prematurity). Similarly about three hundred thousand mother died in 2010 and Pakistan is among ten countries where sixty percent burden of these deaths is concentrated. Maternal and neonatal mortality remain to be unacceptably high in Pakistan especially in rural areas where more than half of births occur.
This community based cluster randomized controlled trial will evaluate the impact of an Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) package in the intervention arm compared to standard of care in control arm. Perinatal and neonatal mortality are primary outcome measure for this trial. The trial will be implemented in 20 clusters (Union councils) of District Rahimyar Khan, Pakistan. The EmONC package consists of provision of maternal and neonatal health pack (clean delivery kit, emollient, chlorhexidine) for safe motherhood and newborn wellbeing and training of community level and facility based health care providers with emphasis on referral of complicated cases to nearest public health facilities and community mobilization.
Even though there is substantial evidence in support of effectiveness of various health interventions for improving maternal, neonatal and child health. Reduction in perinatal and neonatal mortality remains a big challenge in resource constrained and diverse countries like Pakistan and achieving MDG 4 and 5 appears to be a distant reality. A comprehensive package of community based low cost interventions along the continuum of care tailored according to the socio cultural environment coupled with existing health force capacity building may result in improving the maternal and neonatal outcomes.
The findings of this proposed community based trial will provide sufficient evidence on feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness to the policy makers for replicating and scaling up the interventions within the health system
Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care (EmONC); Perinatal mortality; Neonatal mortality; Reproductive health; Child health; Pakistan