Antenatal corticosteroids for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth
are among the most effective hospital-based interventions to reduce neonatal
mortality. We aimed to assess the feasibility, effectiveness, and safety of
a multifaceted intervention designed to increase the use of antenatal
corticosteroids at all levels of health care in low-income and middle-income
In this 18-month, cluster-randomised trial, we randomly assigned
(1:1) rural and semi-urban clusters within six countries (Argentina,
Guatemala, India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Zambia) to standard care or a
multifaceted intervention including components to improve identification of
women at risk of preterm birth and to facilitate appropriate use of
antenatal corticosteroids. The primary outcome was 28-day neonatal mortality
among infants less than the 5th percentile for birthweight (a proxy for
preterm birth) across the clusters. Use of antenatal corticosteroids and
suspected maternal infection were additional main outcomes. This trial is
registered with ClinicalTrials.gov,
The ACT trial took place between October, 2011, and March, 2014
(start dates varied by site). 51 intervention clusters with 47 394
livebirths (2520 [5%] less than 5th percentile for
birthweight) and 50 control clusters with 50 743 livebirths (2258
[4%] less than 5th percentile) completed follow-up.
1052 (45%) of 2327 women in intervention clusters who delivered
less-than-5th-percentile infants received antenatal corticosteroids,
compared with 215 (10%) of 2062 in control clusters
(p<0·0001). Among the less-than-5th-percentile infants,
28-day neonatal mortality was 225 per 1000 livebirths for the intervention
group and 232 per 1000 livebirths for the control group (relative risk
[RR] 0·96, 95% CI
0·87–1·06, p=0·65) and suspected
maternal infection was reported in 236 (10%) of 2361 women in the
intervention group and 133 (6%) of 2094 in the control group (odds
ratio [OR] 1·67, 1·33–2·09,
p<0·0001). Among the whole population, 28-day neonatal
mortality was 27·4 per 1000 livebirths for the intervention group
and 23·9 per 1000 livebirths for the control group (RR 1·12,
1·02–1·22, p=0·0127) and suspected
maternal infection was reported in 1207 (3%) of 48 219 women in the
intervention group and 867 (2%) of 51 523 in the control group (OR
Despite increased use of antenatal corticosteroids in low-birthweight
infants in the intervention groups, neonatal mortality did not decrease in
this group, and increased in the population overall. For every 1000 women
exposed to this strategy, an excess of 3·5 neonatal deaths occurred,
and the risk of maternal infection seems to have been increased.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human
Extremely preterm infants are at risk for neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI). Early cranial ultrasound (CUS) is usual practice, but near-term brain MRI has been reported to better predict outcomes. We prospectively evaluated MRI white matter abnormality (WMA) and cerebellar lesions, and serial CUS adverse findings as predictors of outcomes at 18 to 22 months’ corrected age.
Early and late CUS, and brain MRI were read by masked central readers, in a large cohort (n = 480) of infants <28 weeks’ gestation surviving to near term in the Neonatal Research Network. Outcomes included NDI or death after neuroimaging, and significant gross motor impairment or death, with NDI defined as cognitive composite score <70, significant gross motor impairment, and severe hearing or visual impairment. Multivariable models evaluated the relative predictive value of neuroimaging while controlling for other factors.
Of 480 infants, 15 died and 20 were lost. Increasing severity of WMA and significant cerebellar lesions on MRI were associated with adverse outcomes. Cerebellar lesions were rarely identified by CUS. In full multivariable models, both late CUS and MRI, but not early CUS, remained independently associated with NDI or death (MRI cerebellar lesions: odds ratio, 3.0 [95% confidence interval: 1.3–6.8]; late CUS: odds ratio, 9.8 [95% confidence interval: 2.8–35]), and significant gross motor impairment or death. In models that did not include late CUS, MRI moderate-severe WMA was independently associated with adverse outcomes.
Both late CUS and near-term MRI abnormalities were associated with outcomes, independent of early CUS and other factors, underscoring the relative prognostic value of near-term neuroimaging.
MRI; neurodevelopmental; neuroimaging; preterm infant; ultrasound
Antenatal magnesium (anteMg) is used for tocolysis, pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) and neuroprotection for preterm birth. Infants exposed to anteMg are at risk for respiratory depression and resuscitation in the delivery room (DR). The study objective was to compare the risk of acute cardio-respiratory (CR) events among preterm infants exposed to anteMg and those unexposed (noMg).
This was a retrospective analysis of prospective data collected in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network's Generic Database from 4/1/11 to 3/31/12. The primary outcome was DR intubation or mechanical ventilation (MV) at birth or on day 1 of life. Secondary outcomes were endotracheal MV (eMV), hypotension and other neonatal morbidities and mortality. Logistic regression analysis evaluated the risk of primary outcomes after adjustment for gestational age (GA), center, antenatal steroids (ANS) and PIH/eclampsia.
We evaluated 1,544 infants <29 weeks GA (1,091 in anteMg group and 453 in noMg group). Mothers in the anteMg group were more likely to have higher education, PIH/eclampsia and ANS; while their infants were younger in gestation and weighed less (P<0.05). The primary outcome, mortality and neonatal morbidities were similar between groups; while eMV and hypotension were significantly less among the anteMg group compared to the noMg group. AnteMg exposure was significantly associated with decreased risk of hypotension on day 1 of life and eMV on day 3 of life in the regression analysis.
Preterm infants <29 weeks GA who were exposed to anteMg did not suffer worse CR outcomes compared to those without exposure.
antenatal magnesium; nasal CPAP; neonatal resuscitation; preterm infants
We previously reported on the overall incidence, management and outcomes in infants with cardiovascular insufficiency (CVI). However, there are limited data on the relationship of the specific different definitions of CVI to short term outcomes in term and late preterm newborn infants.
To evaluate how 4 definitions of CVI relate to short term outcomes and death.
The previously reported study was a multicenter, prospective cohort study of 647 infants ≥ 34 weeks gestation admitted to a Neonatal Research Network (NRN) newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and mechanically ventilated (MV) during their first 72 hours. The relationship of five short term outcomes at discharge and 4 different definitions of CVI were further analyzed.
All 4 definitions were associated with greater number of days on MV & days on O2. The definition using a threshold blood pressure (BP) measurement alone was not associated with days to full feeding, days in the NICU or death. The definition based on treatment of CVI was associated with all outcomes including death.
The definition using a threshold BP alone was not consistently associated with adverse short term outcomes. Using only a threshold BP to determine therapy may not improve outcomes.
blood pressure; cardiovascular insufficiency; outcomes; newborn; infant
Between-hospital variation in outcomes among extremely preterm infants is largely unexplained and may reflect differences in hospital practices regarding the initiation of active lifesaving treatment as compared with comfort care after birth.
We studied infants born between April 2006 and March 2011 at 24 hospitals included in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. Data were collected for 4987 infants born before 27 weeks of gestation without congenital anomalies. Active treatment was defined as any potentially lifesaving intervention administered after birth. Survival and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months of corrected age were assessed in 4704 children (94.3%).
Overall rates of active treatment ranged from 22.1% (interquartile range [IQR], 7.7 to 100) among infants born at 22 weeks of gestation to 99.8% (IQR, 100 to 100) among those born at 26 weeks of gestation. Overall rates of survival and survival without severe impairment ranged from 5.1% (IQR, 0 to 10.6) and 3.4% (IQR, 0 to 6.9), respectively, among children born at 22 weeks of gestation to 81.4% (IQR, 78.2 to 84.0) and 75.6% (IQR, 69.5 to 80.0), respectively, among those born at 26 weeks of gestation. Hospital rates of active treatment accounted for 78% and 75% of the between-hospital variation in survival and survival without severe impairment, respectively, among children born at 22 or 23 weeks of gestation, and accounted for 22% and 16%, respectively, among those born at 24 weeks of gestation, but the rates did not account for any of the variation in outcomes among those born at 25 or 26 weeks of gestation.
Differences in hospital practices regarding the initiation of active treatment in infants born at 22, 23, or 24 weeks of gestation explain some of the between-hospital variation in survival and survival without impairment among such patients. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
Prophylactic indomethacin reduces severe intraventricular hemorrhage but may increase spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Early feedings improve nutritional outcomes but may increase the risk of SIP. Despite their benefits, use of these therapies varies largely by physician preferences in part because of the concern for SIP.
This was a cohort study of 15 751 ELBW infants in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network from 1999 to 2010 who survived beyond 12 hours after birth. The risk of SIP was compared between groups of infants with and without exposure to prophylactic indomethacin and early feeding in unadjusted analyses and in analyses adjusted for center and for risks of SIP.
Among infants exposed to prophylactic indomethacin, the risk of SIP did not differ between the indomethacin/early-feeding group compared with the indomethacin/no-early-feeding group (adjusted relative risk [RR] 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49–1.11). The risk of SIP was lower in the indomethacin/early-feeding group compared with the no indomethacin/no-early-feeding group (adjusted RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.37–0.90, P = .0159). Among infants not exposed to indomethacin, early feeding was associated with a lower risk of SIP compared with the no early feeding group (adjusted RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.36–0.777, P = .0011).
The combined or individual use of prophylactic indomethacin and early feeding was not associated with an increased risk of SIP in ELBW infants.
indomethacin; intestinal perforation; necrotizing enterocolitis; neonate
Reduced death and neurodevelopmental impairment among infants is a goal of perinatal medicine.
To assess the association between surgery during the initial hospitalization and death or neurodevelopmental impairment of very low birth weight infants.
Retrospective cohort analysis of patients enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Generic Database from 1998–2009 and evaluated at 18–22 months’ corrected age.
22 academic neonatal intensive care units.
Inclusion criteria were: birth weight 401–1500 g; survival to 12 hours; available for follow-up. Some conditions were excluded. 12 111 infants were included in analyses, 87% of those eligible.
Surgical procedures; surgery also classified by expected anesthesia type as major (general anesthesia) or minor surgery (non-general anesthesia).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Multivariable logistic regression analyses planned a priori were performed for the primary outcome of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and for the secondary outcome of neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors. Multivariable linear regression analyses were performed as planned for the adjusted means of Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition, Mental Developmental Index and Psychomotor Developmental Index for patients born before 2006.
There were 2186 major, 784 minor and 9141 no surgery patients. The risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment for all surgery patients compared with those who had no surgery was 1.29 (95% confidence interval 1.08–1.55). For patients who had major surgery compared with those who had no surgery the risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.52 (95% confidence interval 1.24–1.87). Patients classified as having minor surgery had no increased adjusted risk. Among survivors who had major surgery compared with those who had no surgery the adjusted odds ratio for neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.56 (95% confidence interval 1.26–1.93) and the adjusted mean Mental Developmental Index and mean Psychomotor Developmental Index values were lower.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Major surgery in very low birth weight infants is independently associated with a greater than 50% increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and of neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ corrected age. The role of general anesthesia is implicated but remains unproven.
To explore the early childhood pulmonary outcomes of infants who participated in the NICHD SUPPORT Trial, using a factorial design that randomized extremely preterm infants to lower vs. higher oxygen saturation targets and delivery room CPAP vs. intubation/surfactant, found no significant difference in the primary composite outcome of death or BPD.
The Breathing Outcomes Study, a prospective secondary to SUPPORT, assessed respiratory morbidity at 6 month intervals from hospital discharge to 18–22 months corrected age (CA). Two pre-specified primary outcomes, wheezing more than twice per week during the worst 2 week period and cough longer than 3 days without a cold were compared between each randomized intervention.
One or more interviews were completed for 918 of 922 eligible infants. The incidence of wheezing and cough were 47.9% and 31.0%, respectively, and did not differ between study arms of either randomized intervention. Infants randomized to lower vs. higher oxygen saturation targets had similar risks of death or respiratory morbidities (except for croup, treatment with oxygen or diuretics at home). Infants randomized to CPAP vs. intubation/surfactant had fewer episodes of wheezing without a cold (28.9% vs. 36.5%, p<0.05), respiratory illnesses diagnosed by a doctor (47.7% vs. 55.2%, p<0.05) and physician or emergency room visits for breathing problems (68.0% vs. 72.9%, p<0.05) by 18–22 months CA.
Treatment with early CPAP rather than intubation/surfactant is associated with less respiratory morbidity by 18–22 months CA. Longitudinal assessment of pulmonary morbidity is necessary to fully evaluate the potential benefits of respiratory interventions for neonates.
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia; Infant, Newborn; Infant, Low Birth Weight; Infant, Extremely Low Birth Weight; Infant, Premature; Infant, Extremely Low Gestational Age; Infant mortality; Respiratory morbidity; Intensive care, neonatal; Hospital Readmission; Oximetry; Randomized controlled trial; Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP); Continuous Positive Airway Pressure; Intubation, endotracheal; Pulmonary surfactants/therapeutic use; Oxygen inhalation therapy/methods; Oxygen administration & dosage; Follow-up studies
Understanding the causes and timing of death in extremely premature infants may guide research efforts and inform the counseling of families.
We analyzed prospectively collected data on 6075 deaths among 22,248 live births, with gestational ages of 22 0/7 to 28 6/7 weeks, among infants born in study hospitals within the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. We compared overall and cause-specific in-hospital mortality across three periods from 2000 through 2011, with adjustment for baseline differences.
The number of deaths per 1000 live births was 275 (95% confidence interval [CI], 264 to 285) from 2000 through 2003 and 285 (95% CI, 275 to 295) from 2004 through 2007; the number decreased to 258 (95% CI, 248 to 268) in the 2008–2011 period (P = 0.003 for the comparison across three periods). There were fewer pulmonary-related deaths attributed to the respiratory distress syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia in 2008–2011 than in 2000–2003 and 2004–2007 (68 [95% CI, 63 to 74] vs. 83 [95% CI, 77 to 90] and 84 [95% CI, 78 to 90] per 1000 live births, respectively; P = 0.002). Similarly, in 2008–2011, as compared with 2000–2003, there were decreases in deaths attributed to immaturity (P = 0.05) and deaths complicated by infection (P = 0.04) or central nervous system injury (P<0.001); however, there were increases in deaths attributed to necrotizing enterocolitis (30 [95% CI, 27 to 34] vs. 23 [95% CI, 20 to 27], P = 0.03). Overall, 40.4% of deaths occurred within 12 hours after birth, and 17.3% occurred after 28 days.
We found that from 2000 through 2011, overall mortality declined among extremely premature infants. Deaths related to pulmonary causes, immaturity, infection, and central nervous system injury decreased, while necrotizing enterocolitis–related deaths increased. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
Resuscitation following birth asphyxia reduces mortality, but may be argued to increase risk for neurodevelopmental disability in survivors.
To test the hypothesis that development of infants who received resuscitation following birth asphyxia is not significantly different through 36 months of age from infants who had healthy births.
Prospective observational cohort design comparing infants exposed to birth asphyxia with resuscitation or healthy birth.
A random sample of infants with birth asphyxia who received bag-and-mask resuscitation was selected from birth records in selected communities in 3 countries. Exclusion criteria: birth weight < 1500g, severely abnormal neurological examination at 7 days, mother < 15 years, unable to participate, or not expected to remain in the target area. A random sample of healthy-birth infants (no resuscitation, normal neurological exam) was also selected. Eligible = 438, consented = 407, and ≥ 1 valid developmental assessment during first 36 months = 376.
Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II Mental (MDI) and Psychomotor (PDI) Development Index.
Trajectories of MDI (p = .069) and PDI (p = .143) over 3 yearly assessments did not differ between children with birth asphyxia and healthy-birth children. Rather there was a trend for birth asphyxia children to improve more than healthy-birth children.
The large majority of infants who are treated with resuscitation and survived birth asphyxia can be expected to evidence normal development at least until age 3. The risk for neurodevelopmental disability should not justify the restriction of effective therapies for birth asphyxia.
Birth asphyxia; resuscitation; low resource countries; developmental outcomes; neurodevelopmental disability
To describe quantitative data quality monitoring and performance metrics adopted by the Global Network’s (GN) Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR), a maternal and perinatal population-based registry (MPPBR) based in low and middle income countries (LMICs).
Ongoing prospective, population-based data on all pregnancy outcomes within defined geographical locations participating in the GN have been collected since 2008. Data quality metrics were defined and are implemented at the cluster, site and the central level to ensure data quality. Quantitative performance metrics are described for data collected between 2010 and 2013.
Delivery outcome rates over 95% illustrate that all sites are successful in following patients from pregnancy through delivery. Examples of specific performance metric reports illustrate how both the metrics and reporting process are used to identify cluster-level and site-level quality issues and illustrate how those metrics track over time. Other summary reports (e.g. the increasing proportion of measured birth weight compared to estimated and missing birth weight) illustrate how a site has improved quality over time.
High quality MPPBRs such as the MNHR provide key information on pregnancy outcomes to local and international health officials where civil registration systems are lacking. The MNHR has measures in place to monitor data collection procedures and improve the quality of data collected. Sites have increasingly achieved acceptable values of performance metrics over time, indicating improvements in data quality, but the quality control program must continue to evolve to optimize the use of the MNHR to assess the impact of community interventions in research protocols in pregnancy and perinatal health.
Trial registration number
data monitoring; data quality; maternal health; newborn health; perinatal registry; metrics; low-income countries
It is important when conducting epidemiologic studies to closely monitor lost to follow up (LTFU) rates. A high LTFU rate may lead to incomplete study results which in turn can introduce bias to the trial or study, threatening the validity of the findings. There is scarce information on LTFU in prospective community-based perinatal epidemiological studies. This paper reports the rates of LTFU, describes socio-demographic characteristics, and pregnancy/delivery outcomes of mothers LTFU in a large community-based pregnancy registry study.
Data were from a prospective, population-based observational study of the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR). This is a multi-centre, international study in which pregnant women were enrolled in mid-pregnancy, followed through parturition and 42 days post-delivery. Risk for LTFU was calculated within a 95%CI.
A total of 282,626 subjects were enrolled in this study, of which 4,893 were lost to follow-up. Overall, there was a 1.7% LTFU to follow up rate. Factors associated with a higher LTFU included mothers who did not know their last menstrual period (RR 2.2, 95% CI 1.1, 4.4), maternal age of < 20 years (RR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1, 1.3), women with no formal education (RR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1, 1.4), and attending a government clinic for antenatal care (RR 2.0, 95% CI 1.4, 2.8). Post-natal factors associated with a higher LTFU rate included a newborn with feeding problems (RR 1.6, 94% CI 1.2, 2.2).
The LTFU rate in this community-based registry was low (1.7%). Maternal age, maternal level of education, pregnancy status at enrollment and using a government facility for ANC are factors associated with being LTFU. Strategies to ensure representation and high retention in community studies are important to informing progress toward public health goals.
Registration at the Clinicaltrials.gov (ID# NCT01073475).
Community based registry; maternal and newborn registry; lost to follow up rate; maternal socio demographic characteristics; pregnancy outcomes
Stillbirth rates remain nearly ten times higher in low-middle income countries (LMIC) than high income countries. In LMIC, where nearly 98% of stillbirths worldwide occur, few population-based studies have documented characteristics or care for mothers with stillbirths. Non-macerated stillbirths, those occurring around delivery, are generally considered preventable with appropriate obstetric care.
We undertook a prospective, population-based observational study of all pregnant women in defined geographic areas across 7 sites in low-resource settings (Kenya, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Guatemala and Argentina). Staff collected demographic and health care characteristics with outcomes obtained at delivery.
From 2010 through 2013, 269,614 enrolled women had 272,089 births, including 7,865 stillbirths. The overall stillbirth rate was 28.9/1000 births, ranging from 13.6/1000 births in Argentina to 56.5/1000 births in Pakistan. Stillbirth rates were stable or declined in 6 of the 7 sites from 2010-2013, only increasing in Pakistan. Less educated, older and women with less access to antenatal care were at increased risk of stillbirth. Furthermore, women not delivered by a skilled attendant were more likely to have a stillbirth (RR 2.8, 95% CI 2.2, 3.5). Compared to live births, stillbirths were more likely to be preterm (RR 12.4, 95% CI 11.2, 13.6). Infants with major congenital anomalies were at increased risk of stillbirth (RR 9.1, 95% CI 7.3, 11.4), as were multiple gestations (RR 2.8, 95% CI 2.4, 3.2) and breech (RR 3.0, 95% CI 2.6, 3.5). Altogether, 67.4% of the stillbirths were non-macerated. 7.6% of women with stillbirths had cesarean sections, with obstructed labor the primary indication (36.9%).
Stillbirth rates were high, but with reductions in most sites during the study period. Disadvantaged women, those with less antenatal care and those delivered without a skilled birth attendant were at increased risk of delivering a stillbirth. More than two-thirds of all stillbirths were non-macerated, suggesting potentially preventable stillbirth. Additionally, 8% of women with stillbirths were delivered by cesarean section. The relatively high rate of cesarean section among those with stillbirths suggested that this care was too late or not of quality to prevent the stillbirth; however, further research is needed to evaluate the quality of obstetric care, including cesarean section, on stillbirth in these low resource settings.
Clinicaltrials.gov (ID# NCT01073475)
Stillbirth; low-middle income countries; obstetric care
Adolescent girls between 15 and 19 years give birth to around 16 million babies each year, around 11% of births worldwide. We sought to determine whether adolescent mothers are at higher risk of maternal and perinatal adverse outcomes compared with mothers aged 20–24 years in a prospective, population-based observational study of newborn outcomes in low resource settings.
We undertook a prospective, population-based multi-country research study of all pregnant women in defined geographic areas across 7 sites in six low-middle income countries (Kenya, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Guatemala and Argentina). The study population for this analysis was restricted to women aged 24 years or less, who gave birth to infants of at least 20 weeks’ gestation and 500g or more. We compared adverse pregnancy maternal and perinatal outcomes among pregnant adolescents 15-19 years, <15 years, and adults 20-24 years.
A total of 269,273 women were enrolled from January 2010 to December 2013. Of all pregnancies 11.9% (32,097/269,273) were in adolescents 15-19 years, while 0.14% (370/269,273) occurred among girls <15 years. Pregnancy among adolescents 15-19 years ranged from 2% in Pakistan to 26% in Argentina, and adolescent pregnancies <15 year were only observed in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Compared to adults, adolescents did not show increased risk of maternal adverse outcomes. Risks of preterm birth and LBW were significantly higher among both early and older adolescents, with the highest risks observed in the <15 years group. Neonatal and perinatal mortality followed a similar trend in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, with the highest risk in early adolescents, although the differences in this age group were not significant. However, in South Asia the risks of neonatal and perinatal death were not different among adolescents 15-19 years compared to adults.
This study suggests that pregnancy among adolescents is not associated with worse maternal outcomes, but is associated with worse perinatal outcomes, particularly in younger adolescents. However, this may not be the case in regions like South Asia where there are decreasing rates of adolescent pregnancies, concentrated among older adolescents. The increased risks observed among adolescents seems more likely to be associated with biological immaturity, than with socio-economic factors, inadequate antenatal or delivery care.
Trial registration number
Because large, prospective, population-based data sets describing maternal outcomes are typically not available in low- and middle-income countries, it is difficult to monitor maternal mortality rates over time and to identify factors associated with maternal mortality. Early identification of risk factors is essential to develop comprehensive intervention strategies preventing pregnancy-related complications. Our objective was to describe maternal mortality rates in a large, multi-country dataset and to determine maternal, pregnancy-related, delivery and postpartum characteristics that are associated with maternal mortality.
We collected data describing all pregnancies from 2010 to 2013 among women enrolled in the multi-national Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research Maternal and Neonatal Health Registry (MNHR). We reported the proportion of mothers who died per pregnancy and the maternal mortality ratio (MMR). Generalized linear models were used to evaluate the relationship of potential medical and social factors and maternal mortality and to develop point and interval estimates of relative risk associated with these factors. Generalized estimating equations were used to account for the correlation of outcomes within cluster to develop appropriate confidence intervals.
We recorded 277,736 pregnancies and 402 maternal deaths for an MMR of 153/100,000 live births. We observed an improvement in the total MMR from 166 in 2010 to 126 in 2013. The MMR in Latin American sites (91) was lower than the MMR in Asian (178) and African sites (125). When adjusted for study site and the other variables, no formal education (RR 3.2 [1.5, 6.9]), primary education only (RR 3.4 [1.6, 7.5]), secondary education only (RR 2.5 [1.1, 5.7]), lack of antenatal care (RR 1.8 [1.2, 2.5]), caesarean section delivery (RR 1.9 [1.3, 2.8]), hemorrhage (RR 3.3 [2.2, 5.1]), and hypertensive disorders (RR 7.4 [5.2, 10.4]) were associated with higher risks of death.
The MNHR identified preventable causes of maternal mortality in diverse settings in low- and middle-income countries. The MNHR can be used to monitor public health strategies and determine their association with reducing maternal mortality.
Despite global improvements in maternal and newborn health (MNH), maternal, fetal and newborn mortality rates in Pakistan remain stagnant. Using data from the Global Network’s Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR) the objective of this study is to compare the rates of maternal mortality, stillbirth and newborn mortality and levels of putative risk factors between the Pakistani site and those in other countries.
Using data collected through a multi-site, prospective, ongoing, active surveillance system to track pregnancies and births in communities in discrete geographical areas in seven sites across six countries including Pakistan, India, Kenya, Zambia, Guatemala and Argentina from 2010 to 2013, the study compared MNH outcomes and risk factors. The MNHR captures more than 60,000 deliveries annually across all sites with over 10,000 of them in Thatta, Pakistan.
The Pakistan site had a maternal mortality ratio almost three times that of the other sites (313/100,000 vs 116/100,000). Stillbirth (56.5 vs 22.9/1000 births), neonatal mortality (50.0 vs 20.7/1000 livebirths) and perinatal mortality rates (95.2/1000 vs 39.0/1000 births) in Thatta, Pakistan were more than twice those of the other sites. The Pakistani site is the only one in the Global Network where maternal mortality increased (from 231/100,000 to 353/100,000) over the study period and fetal and neonatal outcomes remained stagnant. The Pakistan site lags behind other sites in maternal education, high parity, and appropriate antenatal and postnatal care. However, facility delivery and skilled birth attendance rates were less prominently different between the Pakistani site and other sites, with the exception of India. The difference in the fetal and neonatal outcomes between the Pakistani site and the other sites was most pronounced amongst normal birth weight babies.
The increase in maternal mortality and the stagnation of fetal and neonatal outcomes from 2010 to 2013 indicates that current levels of antenatal and newborn care interventions in Thatta, Pakistan are insufficient to protect against poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. Delivery care in the Pakistani site, while appearing quantitatively equivalent to the care in sites in Africa, is less effective in saving the lives of women and their newborns. By the metrics available from this study, the quality of obstetric and neonatal care in the site in Pakistan is poor.
The study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov [NCT01073475].
Pakistan; maternal mortality; stillbirth; neonatal mortality
The Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research is one of the largest international networks for testing and generating evidence-based recommendations for improvement of maternal-child health in resource-limited settings. Since 2009, Global Network sites in six low and middle-income countries have collected information on antenatal care practices, which are important as indicators of care and have implications for programs to improve maternal and child health. We sought to: (1) describe the quantity of antenatal care attendance over a four-year period; and (2) explore the quality of coverage for selected preventative, screening, and birth preparedness components.
The Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR) is a prospective, population-based birth and pregnancy outcomes registry in Global Network sites, including: Argentina, Guatemala, India (Belgaum and Nagpur), Kenya, Pakistan, and Zambia. MNHR data from these sites were prospectively collected from January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2013 and analyzed for indicators related to quantity and patterns of ANC and coverage of key elements of recommended focused antenatal care. Descriptive statistics were generated overall by global region (Africa, Asia, and Latin America), and for each individual site.
Overall, 96% of women reported at least one antenatal care visit. Indian sites demonstrated the highest percentage of women who initiated antenatal care during the first trimester. Women from the Latin American and Indian sites reported the highest number of at least 4 visits. Overall, 88% of women received tetanus toxoid. Only about half of all women reported having been screened for syphilis (49%) or anemia (50%). Rates of HIV testing were above 95% in the Argentina, African, and Indian sites. The Pakistan site demonstrated relatively high rates for birth preparation, but for most other preventative and screening interventions, posted lower coverage rates as compared to other Global Network sites.
Results from our large, prospective, population-based observational study contribute important insight into regional and site-specific patterns for antenatal care access and coverage. Our findings indicate a quality and coverage gap in antenatal care services, particularly in regards to syphilis and hemoglobin screening. We have identified site-specific gaps in access to, and delivery of, antenatal care services that can be targeted for improvement in future research and implementation efforts.
Registration at Clinicaltrials.gov (ID# NCT01073475)
Maternal-newborn health; birth registry; antenatal care; Africa; Asia; Latin America; focused antenatal care; quality of care
Early initiation of breastfeeding after birth and exclusive breastfeeding through six months of age confers many health benefits for infants; both are crucial high impact, low-cost interventions. However, determining accurate global rates of these crucial activities has been challenging. We use population-based data to describe: (1) rates of early initiation of breastfeeding (defined as within 1 hour of birth) and of exclusive breastfeeding at 42 days post-partum; and (2) factors associated with failure to initiate early breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding at 42 days post-partum.
Prospectively collected data from women and their live-born infants enrolled in the Global Network’s Maternal and Newborn Health Registry between January 1, 2010-December 31, 2013 included women-infant dyads in 106 geographic areas (clusters) at 7 research sites in 6 countries (Kenya, Zambia, India [2 sites], Pakistan, Argentina and Guatemala). Rates and risk factors for failure to initiate early breastfeeding were investigated for the entire cohort and rates and risk factors for failure to maintain exclusive breastfeeding was assessed in a sub-sample studied at 42 days post-partum.
A total of 255,495 live-born women-infant dyads were included in the study. Rates and determinants for the exclusive breastfeeding sub-study at 42 days post-partum were assessed from among a sub-sample of 105,563 subjects. Although there was heterogeneity by site, and early initiation of breastfeeding after delivery was high, the Pakistan site had the lowest rates of early initiation of breastfeeding. The Pakistan site also had the highest rate of lack of exclusive breastfeeding at 42 days post-partum. Across all regions, factors associated with failure to initiate early breastfeeding included nulliparity, caesarean section, low birth weight, resuscitation with bag and mask, and failure to place baby on the mother’s chest after delivery. Factors associated with failure to achieve exclusive breastfeeding at 42 days varied across the sites. The only factor significant in all sites was multiple gestation.
In this large, prospective, population-based, observational study, rates of both early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding at 42 days post-partum were high, except in Pakistan. Factors associated with these key breastfeeding indicators should assist with more effective strategies to scale-up these crucial public health interventions.
Registration at the Clinicaltrials.gov website (ID# NCT01073475).
Early initiation of breastfeeding; exclusive breastfeeding; neonatal mortality; global health; newborn
The Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research (Global Network) supports and conducts clinical trials in resource-limited countries by pairing foreign and U.S. investigators, with the goal of evaluating low-cost, sustainable interventions to improve the health of women and children. Accurate reporting of births, stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal mortality, and measures of obstetric and neonatal care is critical to efforts to discover strategies for improving pregnancy outcomes in resource-limited settings. Because most of the sites in the Global Network have weak registration within their health care systems, the Global Network developed the Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR), a prospective, population-based registry of pregnancies at the Global Network sites to provide precise data on health outcomes and measures of care.
Pregnant women are enrolled in the MNHR if they reside in or receive healthcare in designated groups of communities within sites in the Global Network. For each woman, demographic, health characteristics and major outcomes of pregnancy are recorded. Data are recorded at enrollment, the time of delivery and at 42 days postpartum.
From 2010 through 2013 Global Network sites were located in Argentina, Guatemala, Belgaum and Nagpur, India, Pakistan, Kenya, and Zambia. During this period, 283,496 pregnant women were enrolled in the MNHR; this number represented 98.8% of all eligible women. Delivery data were collected for 98.8% of women and 42-day follow-up data for 98.4% of those enrolled. In this supplement, there are a series of manuscripts that use data gathered through the MNHR to report outcomes of these pregnancies.
Developing public policy and improving public health in countries with poor perinatal outcomes is, in part, dependent upon understanding the outcome of every pregnancy. Because the worst pregnancy outcomes typically occur in countries with limited health registration systems and vital records, alternative registration systems may prove to be highly valuable in providing data. The MNHR, an international, multicenter, population-based registry, assesses pregnancy outcomes over time in support of efforts to develop improved perinatal healthcare in resource-limited areas.
Study Registration: The Maternal Newborn Health Registry is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov (ID# NCT01073475).
registry; perinatal mortality; neonatal mortality; stillbirth; maternal mortality
This population-based study sought to quantify maternal, fetal, and neonatal morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries associated with obstructed labor, prolonged labor and failure to progress (OL/PL/FTP).
A prospective, population-based observational study of pregnancy outcomes was performed at seven sites in Argentina, Guatemala, India (2 sites, Belgaum and Nagpur), Kenya, Pakistan and Zambia. Women were enrolled in pregnancy and delivery and 6-week follow-up obtained to evaluate rates of OL/PL/FTP and outcomes resulting from OL/PL/FTP, including: maternal and delivery characteristics, maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality and stillbirth.
Between 2010 and 2013, 266,723 of 267,270 records (99.8%) included data on OL/PL/FTP with an overall rate of 110.4/1000 deliveries that ranged from 41.6 in Zambia to 200.1 in Pakistan. OL/PL/FTP was more common in women aged <20, nulliparous women, more educated women, women with infants >3500g, and women with a BMI >25 (RR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3 – 1.5), with the suggestion of OL/PL/FTP being less common in preterm deliveries. Protective characteristics included parity of ≥3, having an infant <1500g, and having a BMI <18. Women with OL/PL/FTP were more likely to die within 42 days (RR 1.9, 95% CI 1.4 – 2.4), be infected (RR 1.8, 95% CI 1.5 – 2.2), and have hemorrhage antepartum (RR 2.8, 95% CI 2.1 – 3.7) or postpartum (RR 2.4, 95% CI 1.8 – 3.3). They were also more likely to have a stillbirth (RR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3 – 1.9), a neonatal demise at < 28 days (RR 1.9, 95% CI 1.6 – 2.1), or a neonatal infection (RR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1 – 1.3). As compared to operative vaginal delivery and cesarean section (CS), women experiencing OL/PL/FTP who gave birth vaginally were more likely to become infected, to have an infected neonate, to hemorrhage in the antepartum and postpartum period, and to die, have a stillbirth, or have a neonatal demise. Women with OL/PL/FTP were far more likely to deliver in a facility and be attended by a physician or other skilled provider than women without this diagnosis.
Women with OL/PL/FTP in the communities studied were more likely to be primiparous, younger than age 20, overweight, and of higher education, with an infant with birthweight of >3500g. Women with this diagnosis were more likely to experience a maternal, fetal, or neonatal death, antepartum and postpartum hemorrhage, and maternal and neonatal infection. They were also more likely to deliver in a facility with a skilled provider. CS may decrease the risk of poor outcomes (as in the case of antepartum hemorrhage), but unassisted vaginal delivery exacerbates all of the maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes evaluated in the setting of OL/PL/FTP.
obstructed labor; maternal mortality; maternal morbidity; neonatal mortality; neonatal morbidity; stillbirth; sub-Saharan Africa
Approximately 3 million neonatal deaths occur each year worldwide. Simple interventions have been tested and found to be effective in reducing the neonatal mortality. In order to effectively implement public health interventions, it is important to know the rates of neonatal mortality and understand the contributing risk factors. Hence, this prospective, population-based, observational study was carried out to inform these needs.
The Global Network’s Maternal Newborn Health Registry was initiated in the seven sites in 2008. Registry administrators (RAs) attempt to identify and enroll all eligible women by 20 weeks gestation and collect basic health data, and outcomes after delivery and at 6 weeks post-partum. All study data were collected, reviewed, and edited by staff at each study site. The study was reviewed and approved by each sites’ ethics review committee.
Overall, the 7-day neonatal mortality rate (NMR) was 20.6 per 1000 live births and the 28-day NMR was 25.7 per 1000 live births. Higher neonatal mortality was associated with maternal age > 35 and <20 years relative to women 20-35 years of age. Preterm births were at increased risk of both early and 28-day neonatal mortality (RR 8.1, 95% CI 7.5-8.8 and 7.5, 95% CI 6.9-8.1) compared to term as were those with low birth weight (<2500g). Neonatal resuscitation rates were 4.8% for hospital deliveries compared to 0.9% for home births. In the hospital, 26.5% of deliveries were by cesarean section with an overall cesarean section rate of 12.5%. Neonatal mortality rates were highest in the Pakistan site and lowest in Argentina.
Using prospectively collected data with high follow up rates (99%), we documented characteristics associated with neonatal mortality. Low birth weight and prematurity are among the strongest predictors of neonatal mortality. Other risk factors for neonatal deaths included male gender, multiple gestation and major congenital anomalies. Breech presentation/transverse lie, and no antenatal care were also significant risk factors for neonatal death. Coverage of interventions varied by setting of delivery, with the overall population rate of most evidence-based interventions low. This study informs about risk factors for neonatal mortality which can serve to design strategies/interventions to reduce risk of neonatal mortality.
The trial is registered at clinicaltrials.gov. ClinicalTrial.gov Trial Registration: NCT01073475
neonatal mortality; newborn care; risk factors
During the post-partum period, most women wish to delay or prevent future pregnancies. Despite this, the unmet need for family planning up to a year after delivery is higher than at any other time. This study aims to assess fertility intention, contraceptive usage and unmet need for family planning amongst women who are six weeks postpartum, as well as to identify those at greatest risk of having an unmet need for family planning during this period.
Using the NICHD Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research’s multi-site, prospective, ongoing, active surveillance system to track pregnancies and births in 100 rural geographic clusters in 5 countries (India, Pakistan, Zambia, Kenya and Guatemala), we assessed fertility intention and contraceptive usage at day 42 post-partum.
We gathered data on 36,687 women in the post-partum period. Less than 5% of these women wished to have another pregnancy within the year. Despite this, rates of modern contraceptive usage varied widely and unmet need ranged from 25% to 96%. Even amongst users of modern contraceptives, the uptake of the most effective long-acting reversible contraceptives (intrauterine devices) was low. Women of age less than 20 years, parity of two or less, limited education and those who deliver at home were at highest risk for having unmet need.
Six weeks postpartum, almost all women wish to delay or prevent a future pregnancy. Even in sites where early contraceptive adoption is common, there is substantial unmet need for family planning. This is consistently highest amongst women below the age of 20 years. Interventions aimed at increasing the adoption of effective contraceptive methods are urgently needed in the majority of sites in order to reduce unmet need and to improve both maternal and infant outcomes, especially amongst young women.
Clinicaltrials.gov (ID# NCT01073475)
Contraception; low-middle income countries; obstetric care; family planning
To evaluate the neurodevelopmental outcomes of very preterm
(<30 weeks) infants who underwent tracheostomy.
Retrospective cohort study from 16 centers of the NICHD Neonatal
Research Network over 10 years (2001-2011). Infants who survived to at least
36 weeks (N=8,683), including 304 infants with tracheostomies, were studied.
Primary outcome was death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI, a composite
of one or more of: developmental delay, neurologic impairment, profound
hearing loss, severe visual impairment) at a corrected age of 18-22 months.
Outcomes were compared using multiple logistic regression. We assessed
impact of timing, by comparing outcomes of infants who underwent
tracheostomy before and after 120 days of life.
Tracheostomies were associated with all neonatal morbidities
examined, and with most adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Death or NDI
occurred in 83% of infants with tracheostomies and 40% of those without
[odds ratio (OR) adjusted for center 7.0 (95%CI, 5.2-9.5)]. After adjustment
for potential confounders, odds of death or NDI remained higher [OR 3.3
(95%CI, 2.4-4.6)], but odds of death alone were lower [OR 0.4 (95%CI,
0.3-0.7)], among infants with tracheostomies. Death or NDI was lower in
infants who received their tracheostomies before, rather than after, 120
days of life [adjusted OR 0.5 (95%CI, 0.3-0.9)].
Tracheostomy in preterm infants is associated with adverse
developmental outcomes, and cannot mitigate the significant risk associated
with many complications of prematurity. These data may inform counseling
about tracheostomy in this vulnerable population.
newborn; very low birth weight infant; neurodevelopmental impairment; tracheotomy; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; prematurity
We conducted a theory-driven process evaluation of a cluster randomized controlled trial comparing two types of complementary feeding (meat versus fortified cereal) on infant growth in Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We examined process evaluation indicators for the entire study cohort (N = 1236) using chi-square tests to examine differences between treatment groups. We administered exit interviews to 219 caregivers and 45 intervention staff to explore why caregivers may or may not have performed suggested infant feeding behaviors. Multivariate regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between caregiver scores and infant linear growth velocity. As message recall increased, irrespective of treatment group, linear growth velocity increased when controlling for other factors (P < 0.05), emphasizing the importance of study messages. Our detailed process evaluation revealed few differences between treatment groups, giving us confidence that the main trial’s lack of effect to reverse the progression of stunting cannot be explained by differences between groups or inconsistencies in protocol implementation. These findings add to an emerging body of literature suggesting limited impact on stunting of interventions initiated during the period of complementary feeding in impoverished environments. The early onset and steady progression support the provision of earlier and comprehensive interventions.
To determine genetic variants associated with severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in a candidate gene cohort study of US preterm infants.
Preterm infants in the discovery cohort were enrolled through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network, and those in the replication cohort were from the University of Iowa. All infants were phenotyped for ROP severity. Because of differences in the durations of enrollment between cohorts, severe ROP was defined as threshold disease in the discovery cohort and as threshold disease or type 1 ROP in the replication cohort. Whole genome amplified DNA from stored blood spot samples from the Neonatal Research Network biorepository was genotyped using an Illumina GoldenGate platform for candidate gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) involving angiogenic, developmental, inflammatory, and oxidative pathways. Three analyses were performed to determine significant epidemiologic variables and SNPs associated with levels of ROP severity. Analyses controlled for multiple comparisons, ancestral eigenvalues, family relatedness, and significant epidemiologic variables. Single nucleotide polymorphisms significantly associated with ROP severity from the discovery cohort were analyzed in the replication cohort and in meta-analysis.
Eight hundred seventeen infants in the discovery cohort and 543 in the replication cohort were analyzed. Severe ROP occurred in 126 infants in the discovery and in 14 in the replication cohort. In both cohorts, ventilation days and seizure occurrence were associated with severe ROP. After controlling for significant factors and multiple comparisons, two intronic SNPs in the gene BDNF (rs7934165 and rs2049046, P < 3.1 × 10−5) were associated with severe ROP in the discovery cohort and were not associated with severe ROP in the replication cohort. However, when the cohorts were analyzed together in an exploratory meta-analysis, rs7934165 increased in associated significance with severe ROP (P = 2.9 × 10−7).
Variants in BDNF encoding brain-derived neurotrophic factor were associated with severe ROP in a large candidate gene study of infants with threshold ROP.
Two variants in the gene encoding brain-derived neurotrophic factor were significantly associated with severe ROP in the largest candidate gene study of extremely low birth weight US infants.
retinopathy of prematurity; extremely low birth weight; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; genetic associations; neurovascular