We studied exposure to solid fuel smoke and second-hand tobacco smoke among pregnant women in south Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Prospective cross-sectional survey.
Antenatal clinics in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Uruguay, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, India and Pakistan.
A total of 7961 pregnant women in ten sites in nine countries were interviewed between October 2004 and September 2005.
A standardized questionnaire on exposure to indoor air pollution (IAP) and to secondhand smoke was administered to pregnant women during antenatal care.
Main Outcome Measures
Exposure to IAP and second-hand tobacco smoke.
South Asian pregnant women commonly reported use of wood (49.1%–89.7%), crop residue and animal dung for cooking and heating fuel. African pregnant women reported higher use of charcoal (85.4%–93.5%). Latin American pregnant women had greater use of petroleum gas. Among south Asian women, solid fuel use and cooking on an open flame inside the home were common. There was a significant association between solid fuel use and allowing smoking within the home at the Asian sites and in Zambia (p<0.05).
Pregnant women from low/middle income countries were commonly exposed to IAP secondary to use of solid fuels. Among these populations, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke was also common. This combination of exposures likely increases the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes among the most vulnerable women. Our study highlights the importance of further research on the combined impact of IAP and second-hand tobacco smoke exposures on adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes.
Pregnancy; indoor air pollution; second-hand tobacco smoke exposure; smoking
Although the prevalence of tobacco use is decreasing in many high-income countries, it is increasing in many low-and middle-income countries. The health and economic burden of increasing tobacco use and dependence is predictable and will have devastating effects in countries with limited resources, particularly for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women. We sought to review effective tobacco prevention and intervention strategies for decreasing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure before and during pregnancy in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. We reviewed several types of interventions, including population-level efforts (increasing tobacco prices, implementing tobacco control policies), community interventions, clinical interventions, and pharmacological treatments.
A second purpose of this report is to present findings of an international expert working group that was convened to review the evidence and to establish research priorities in the following areas: 1) preventing the uptake and reducing tobacco use among girls and women of reproductive age and 2) reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure among pregnant women. The working group considered the evidence on existing interventions in terms of burden of disease, intervention impact, intervention costs, feasibility of integration into existing services, uniqueness of the contribution, and overall feasibility. Finally, we present the working group’s recommendations for intervention research priorities.
Global; tobacco; perinatal and reproductive health
To determine the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and attempts and to identify demographic variables and mental health correlates such as anxiety/depression and domestic violence among pregnant women in an urban community in Pakistan.
Cross sectional data from a prospective cohort study are presented.
Women enrolled in an antenatal care clinic and followed to delivery in an urban area of Pakistan
Cohort of pregnant women in Pakistan.
1,369 pregnant women were enrolled and interviewed regarding various maternal characteristics and pregnancy outcomes, and were asked specific questions about suicidal thoughts and attempts and administered the Aga Khan University Anxiety Depression Scale at 20–26 weeks of gestation.
Main outcome measures
Suicidal thoughts and attempts, verbal, sexual or physical abuse.
Overall, 148 of the 1369 (11%) women studied had considered suicide. Of these, 148 women, 67 (45%) had attempted suicide. Eighteen percent of the women were classified as having depression/anxiety, almost half (48%) reported experiencing verbal abuse and 20% reported physical/sexual abuse. Women who had anxiety/depression or had experienced verbal or physical/sexual abuse were significantly more likely to have had suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Women at greatest risk for having suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt were those who were depressed/anxious and had experienced some form of domestic abuse. With the high prevalence of these conditions, attention should be given to the establishment of effective mental health treatment programs for pregnant women.
Suicidal thoughts; suicide attempts; pregnancy; abuse; anxiety/depression
The goal was to determine the effect of training in newborn care and resuscitation on 7-day (early) neonatal mortality rates for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. The study was designed to test the hypothesis that these training programs would reduce neonatal mortality rates for VLBW infants.
Local instructors trained birth attendants from 96 rural communities in 6 developing countries in protocol and data collection, the World Health Organization Essential Newborn Care (ENC) course, and a modified version of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), by using a train-the-trainer model. To test the impact of ENC training, data on infants of 500 to 1499 g were collected by using a before/after, active baseline, controlled study design. A cluster-randomized, controlled trial design was used to test the impact of the NRP.
A total of 1096 VLBW (500–1499 g) infants were enrolled, and 98.5% of live-born infants were monitored to 7 days. All-cause, 7-day neonatal mortality, stillbirth, and perinatal mortality rates were not affected by ENC or NRP training.
Neither ENC nor NRP training of birth attendants decreased 7-day neonatal, stillbirth, or perinatal mortality rates for VLBW infants born at home or at first-level facilities. Encouragement of delivery in a facility where a higher level of care is available may be preferable when delivery of a VLBW infant is expected.
neonatal mortality; perinatal mortality; stillbirth; developing countries; health care systems; very low birth weight; prematurity
Anemia affects almost two-thirds of pregnant women in developing countries and contributes to maternal morbidity and mortality and to low birthweight.
To determine the prevalence of anemia and the dietary and socioeconomic factors associated with anemia in pregnant women living in an urban community setting in Hyderabad, Pakistan.
This was a prospective, observational study of 1,369 pregnant women enrolled at 20 to 26 weeks of gestation and followed to 6 weeks postpartum. A blood sample was obtained at enrollment to determine hemoglobin levels. Information on nutritional knowledge, attitudes, and practice and dietary history regarding usual food intake before and during pregnancy were obtained by trained interviewers within 1 week of enrollment.
The prevalence of anemia (defined by the World Health Organization as hemoglobin < 11.0 g/dL) in these subjects was 90.5%; of these, 75.0% had mild anemia (hemoglobin from 9.0 to 10.9 g/dL) and 14.8% had moderate anemia (hemoglobin from 7.0 to 8.9 g/dL). Only 0.7% were severely anemic (hemoglobin < 7.0 g/dL). Nonanemic women were significantly taller, weighed more, and had a higher body mass index. Multivariate analysis after adjustment for education, pregnancy history, iron supplementation, and height showed that drinking more than three cups of tea per day before pregnancy (adjusted prevalence odds ratio [aPOR], 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 8.0), consumption of clay or dirt during pregnancy (aPOR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.1 to 12.3), and never consuming eggs or consuming eggs less than twice a week during pregnancy (aPOR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.5) were significantly associated with anemia. Consumption of red meat less than twice a week prior to pregnancy was marginally associated with anemia (aPOR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.8 to 1.8) but was significantly associated with lower mean hemoglobin concentrations (9.9 vs. 10.0 g/dL, p = .05) during the study period. A subanalysis excluding women with mild anemia found similar associations to those of the main model, albeit even stronger.
A high percentage of women at 20 to 26 weeks of pregnancy had mild to moderate anemia. Pica, tea consumption, and low intake of eggs and red meat were associated with anemia. Women of childbearing age should be provided nutritional education regarding food sources of iron, especially prior to becoming pregnant, and taught how food choices can either enhance or interfere with iron absorption.
Anemia; developing countries; pregnancy
To evaluate the evidence for prenatal corticosteroid use in low- and middle-income countries and to make recommendations regarding implementation and further research.
Studies and meta-analyses on prenatal corticosteroids relevant to low- and middle-income countries were identified and reviewed at the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Project (MCHIP) Antenatal Corticosteroid Conference held in Washington on October 19, 2010.
There is strong evidence regarding the effectiveness of prenatal corticosteroid use in hospitals in high- and middle-income countries, usually in settings with high-level newborn care. For births occurring in hospitals in low-income countries without high-level neonatal care or for births outside hospitals, no studies have been conducted to evaluate prenatal corticosteroid use. The efficacy and safety of prenatal corticosteroid use in these settings must be evaluated.
The conference working group recommended expanding the use of prenatal corticosteroids in hospitals with high-level newborn care in low-income countries. For other low-income country settings, further research regarding efficacy and safety should precede the widespread introduction of prenatal corticosteroids.
Low-resource countries; Prenatal corticosteroids; Preterm birth
In reviewing the research on stillbirth in developing countries, it becomes clear that because almost half of the deliveries in these settings occur at home, under-reporting of stillbirths is a significant problem, and reliable data about rates and causes are unavailable in some areas of the world. Nevertheless, of the estimated 3 million stillbirths which occur yearly, the vast majority in developing countries, with rates in many developing countries ten-fold higher than elsewhere. Classification systems have been adapted for developing countries; however, there is not a standard international system, nor is there agreement about stillbirth definitions making comparisons of cause of stillbirth over time or between sites problematic. From available data, prolonged and obstructed labor, and various infections all without adequate treatment, appear to account for the majority of stillbirths in developing countries. Strategies that have effectively reduced stillbirth in developed countries have had mixed results in developing countries or have not yet been tested; however, identification and treatment of infections such as syphilis has been shown effective in reducing stillbirth risk, while strategies to improve obstetric care have not been widely evaluated. Despite the large number of stillbirths worldwide, the topic of stillbirths in developing countries has received very little research, programmatic or policy attention. Better access to appropriate obstetric care, especially during labor, should reduce developing country stillbirth rates dramatically.
stillbirth; developing countries; perinatal mortality
Untreated infection may cause stillbirth by several mechanisms, including direct fetal infection, placental damage, and severe maternal illness. Many bacteria, viruses, and protozoa have been associated with stillbirth. In developed countries, up to 24% of stillbirths have been attributed to infection, although with increased availability of sophisticated diagnostics and rigorous screening, it appears likely that higher numbers may actually be associated with infection. In developed countries, ascending bacterial infection is usually the most common infectious cause of stillbirth, with a number of viral infections also an important factor. Screening, prevention and treatment of maternal infections are important to reduce stillbirth risk.
Stillbirth; infection; chorioamnionitis
Infection is an important cause of stillbirth world-wide; in low and
middle income countries (LMICs), 50% or more are likely caused by
infection. In contrast, in high income countries, only10-25% of
stillbirths are caused by infection. Syphilis, where prevalent, causes the
majority of infectious stillbirths and is the infection most amenable to
screening and treatment. Ascending bacterial infection is a common cause of
stillbirth, but prevention has proven elusive. Many viral infections are causal
for stillbirth but aside from vaccination for common childhood diseases, it is
unclear how most viral-caused stillbirths may be prevented. Malaria, because of
its high prevalence and extensive placental damage accounts for large numbers of
stillbirths. Intermittent malarial prophylaxis and insecticide impregnated bed
nets should decrease stillbirths. Many animal and vector-borne infections cause
stillbirth. Because this relationship is especially important in LMICs, research
that more clearly defines this relationship is crucial to reduce the
unacceptably high stillbirth rates in those areas.
Stillbirth; infection; congenital syphilis; vector-borne infections
To study pregnant women’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors towards tobacco use and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure, and exposure to advertising for and against tobacco products in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Prospective cross-sectional survey between November 2004 and September 2005.
Antenatal care clinics in Lusaka, Zambia and Kinshasa, DRC.
Pregnant women in Zambia (909) and the DRC (847).
Research staff administered a structured questionnaire to pregnant women attending antenatal care clinics.
Main Outcome Measures
Pregnant women’s use of tobacco, exposure to SHS, knowledge of the harms of tobacco, and exposure to advertising for and against tobacco products.
Only about 10% of pregnant women reported having ever tried cigarettes (6.6% Zambia; 14.1% DRC). However, in the DRC, 41.8% of pregnant women had ever tried other forms of tobacco, primarily snuff. About 10% of pregnant women and young children were frequently or always exposed to SHS. Pregnant women’s knowledge of the hazards of smoking and SHS exposure was extremely limited. About 13% of pregnant women had seen or heard advertising for tobacco products in the last 30 days.
Tobacco use and SHS exposure pose serious threats to the health of women, infants, and children. In many African countries, maternal and infant health outcomes are often poor and will likely worsen if maternal tobacco use increases. Our findings suggest that a “window of opportunity” exists to prevent increased tobacco use and SHS exposure of pregnant women in Zambia and the DRC.
Few studies have examined the relationship between antenatal depression, anxiety and domestic violence in pregnant women in developing countries, despite the World Health Organization's estimates that depressive disorders will be the second leading cause of the global disease burden by 2020. There is a paucity of research on mood disorders, their predictors and sequelae among pregnant women in Pakistan.
To determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression and evaluate associated factors, including domestic violence, among pregnant women in an urban community in Pakistan.
All pregnant women living in identified areas of Hyderabad, Pakistan were screened by government health workers for an observational study on maternal characteristics and pregnancy outcomes. Of these, 1368 (76%) of eligible women were administered the validated Aga Khan University Anxiety Depression Scale at 20–26 weeks of gestation.
18 percent of the women were anxious and/or depressed. Psychological distress was associated with husband unemployment (p=0.032), lower household wealth (p=0.027), having 10 or more years of formal education (p=0.002), a first (p=0.002) and an unwanted pregnancy (p<0.001). The strongest factors associated with depression/anxiety were physical/sexual and verbal abuse; 42% of women who were physically and/or sexually abused and 23% of those with verbal abuse had depression/anxiety compared to 8% of those who were not abused.
Anxiety and depression commonly occur during pregnancy in Pakistani women; rates are highest in women experiencing sexual/physical as well as verbal abuse, but they also are increased among women with unemployed spouses and those with lower household wealth. These results suggest that developing a screening and treatment program for domestic violence and depression/anxiety during pregnancy may improve the mental health status of pregnant Pakistani women.
Pregnancy; depression; anxiety; Pakistan; measurement
The rationale is considered for promoting the availability of local, affordable, non-fortified food sources of bioavailable iron in developing countries. Intakes of iron from the regular consumption of meat from the age of six months are evaluated with respect to physiological requirements. The paper includes a description of two major randomized controlled trials of meat as a first and regular complementary food that are currently in progress. These trials involve poor communities in Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and China.
iron; meat; complementary feeding
To describe the methods for assigning the cause of death for stillbirths enrolled in the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network (SCRN).
A complete evaluation, including postmortem examination, placental pathology, medical record abstraction, and maternal interview was available on 512 stillbirths among 500 women. These 512 stillbirths were evaluated for cause of death using the definitions outlined in this report. Using the best available evidence, SCRN investigators developed a new methodology to assign the cause of death of stillbirths using clinical, postmortem, and placental pathology data. This new tool, designated the Initial Causes of Fetal Death, incorporates known causes of death and assigns them as possible or probable based on strict diagnostic criteria, derived from published references and pathophysiologic sequences that lead to stillbirth.
Six broad categories of causes of death are accounted for, including maternal medical conditions; obstetric complications; maternal or fetal hematologic conditions; fetal genetic, structural, and karyotypic abnormalities; placental infection, fetal infection, or both; and placental pathologic findings. Isolated histologic chorioamnionitis and small for gestational age were not considered causes of death.
A new system, Initial Causes of Fetal Death, to assign cause of death in stillbirths was developed by the SCRN investigators for use in this study but has broader applicability. Initial Causes of Fetal Death is a standardized method to assign probable and possible causes of death of stillbirths based on information routinely collected during prenatal care and the clinical evaluation of fetal death.
Fetal and neonatal mortality rates in low-income countries are at least 10-fold greater than in high-income countries. These differences have been related to poor access to and poor quality of obstetric and neonatal care.
This trial tested the hypothesis that teams of health care providers, administrators and local residents can address the problem of limited access to quality obstetric and neonatal care and lead to a reduction in perinatal mortality in intervention compared to control locations. In seven geographic areas in five low-income and one middle-income country, most with high perinatal mortality rates and substantial numbers of home deliveries, we performed a cluster randomized non-masked trial of a package of interventions that included community mobilization focusing on birth planning and hospital transport, community birth attendant training in problem recognition, and facility staff training in the management of obstetric and neonatal emergencies. The primary outcome was perinatal mortality at ≥28 weeks gestation or birth weight ≥1000 g.
Despite extensive effort in all sites in each of the three intervention areas, no differences emerged in the primary or any secondary outcome between the intervention and control clusters. In both groups, the mean perinatal mortality was 40.1/1,000 births (P = 0.9996). Neither were there differences between the two groups in outcomes in the last six months of the project, in the year following intervention cessation, nor in the clusters that best implemented the intervention.
This cluster randomized comprehensive, large-scale, multi-sector intervention did not result in detectable impact on the proposed outcomes. While this does not negate the importance of these interventions, we expect that achieving improvement in pregnancy outcomes in these settings will require substantially more obstetric and neonatal care infrastructure than was available at the sites during this trial, and without them provider training and community mobilization will not be sufficient. Our results highlight the critical importance of evaluating outcomes in randomized trials, as interventions that should be effective may not be.
Stillbirth; Neonatal mortality; Maternal mortality; Emergency obstetric care
To describe the staffing and availability of medical equipment and medications and the performance of procedures at health facilities providing maternal and neonatal care at African, Asian, and Latin American sites participating in a multicenter trial to improve emergency obstetric/neonatal care in communities with high maternal and perinatal mortality.
In 2009, prior to intervention, we surveyed 136 hospitals and 228 clinics in 7 sites in Africa, Asia, and Latin America regarding staffing, availability of equipment/ medications, and procedures including cesarean section.
The coverage of physicians and nurses/midwives was poor in Africa and Latin America. In Africa, only 20% of hospitals had full-time physicians. Only 70% of hospitals in Africa and Asia had performed cesarean sections in the last 6 months. Oxygen was unavailable in 40% of African hospitals and 17% of Asian hospitals. Blood was unavailable in 80% of African and Asian hospitals.
Assuming that adequate facility services are necessary to improve pregnancy outcomes, it is not surprising that maternal and perinatal mortality rates in the areas surveyed are high. The data presented emphasize that to reduce mortality in these areas, resources that result in improved staffing and sufficient equipment, supplies, and medication, along with training, are required.
emergency obstetric and neonatal care; developing countries; perinatal mortality
There are few studies of the association between placental malaria (PM) and mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1), and the results of published studies are inconsistent. To determine the association between PM and MTCT of HIV-1, we performed a secondary analysis of data from a clinical trial of antibiotics to reduce chorioamnionitis. Data regarding 1,662 HIV-1–infected women with live born singleton and first-born twin infants with information regarding PM and infant HIV-1 infection status at birth were analyzed. At the time of the study, women did not have access to antiretroviral drugs for treatment of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome but had received nevirapine prophylaxis to reduce the risk of MTCT of HIV-1. Placental malaria was not associated with the infant HIV-1 infection status at birth ( P = 0.67). Adjustment for maternal plasma viral load and CD4+ cell count did not change these results (odds ratio = 1.06, 95% confidence interval = 0.51–2.20, P = 0.87). Placental malaria was more likely to be related to HIV-1 infection at birth among women with low viral load at baseline (P for interaction = 0.08). In conclusion, PM was not associated with infant HIV-1 infection status at birth. The interaction of maternal plasma viral load, PM, and MTCT of HIV-1 warrants further studies.
To implement a vital statistics registry system to register pregnant women and document birth outcomes in the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research sites in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The Global Network sites began a prospective population-based pregnancy registry to identify all pregnant women and record pregnancy outcomes up to 42 days post-delivery in more than 100 defined low-resource geographic areas (clusters). Pregnant women were registered during pregnancy, with 42-day maternal and neonatal follow-up recorded—including care received during the pregnancy and postpartum periods. Recorded outcomes included stillbirth, neonatal mortality, and maternal mortality rates.
In 2010, 72 848 pregnant women were enrolled and 6-week follow-up was obtained for 97.8%. Across sites, 40.7%, 24.8%, and 34.5% of births occurred in a hospital, health center, and home setting, respectively. The mean neonatal mortality rate was 23 per 1000 live births, ranging from 8.2 to 48.5 per 1000 live births. The mean stillbirth rate ranged from 13.7 to 54.4 per 1000 births.
The registry is an ongoing study to assess the impact of interventions and trends regarding pregnancy outcomes and measures of care to inform public health.
Maternal mortality; Neonatal mortality; Perinatal mortality; Pregnancy; Registry; Stillbirth
We sought to determine whether midtrimester amniotic fluid levels of matrix metalloproteinase-8 were associated with subsequent preterm premature rupture of membranes.
We conducted a case-control study examining 57 asymptomatic women who underwent genetic amniocentesis from 14 to 21 weeks’ gestation and subsequently had preterm premature rupture of membranes (<35 wk) and 58 women with subsequent term delivery. Measurement of total matrix metalloproteinase-8 level in amniotic fluid was conducted using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and association with preterm birth due to preterm premature rupture of membranes was assessed.
The overall distribution of matrix metalloproteinase-8 concentrations was similar in women who had preterm premature rupture of membranes and term controls (median 2.39 ng/mL, 25th to 75th percentile 1.1-10.1 vs 2.37 ng/mL, 25th to 75th percentile 1.5-4.7, P = .94). However, 26% of women who had preterm premature rupture of membranes had a matrix metalloproteinase-8 concentration above the 90th percentile (8.7 ng/mL), compared with only 10% of term controls (odds ratio 3.1, 95% CI 1.1-8.7; P = .03). Elevated matrix metalloproteinase-8 remained associated with preterm premature rupture of membranes after adjustment for maternal age, race, parity, gestational age, and year of amniocentesis (odds ratio 3.4, 95% CI 1.2-9.9; P = .03).
The overall distribution of midtrimester amniotic fluid matrix metalloproteinase-8 levels did not differ between women who had preterm premature rupture of membranes and those delivered at term. However, marked elevations of midtrimester amniotic fluid matrix metalloproteinase-8 were highly associated with subsequent preterm premature rupture of membranes, suggesting that the pathophysiologic processes that contribute to preterm premature rupture of membranes may begin in early pregnancy.
Matrix metalloproteinase-8; Premature rupture of membranes; Intrauterine inflammation; Preterm birth
Although cytokines play a dual role in the developing neurologic system and in prenatal immune reactions, relations between fetal cytokine levels and child intellectual development remain unknown. The authors investigated associations between umbilical cord serum cytokine concentrations and intellectual outcomes in 369 children within a prospective cohort study, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-University of Alabama Infant Growth Study (1985–1988). Concentrations of interferon-γ (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukins 4, 10, and 12p70 were determined. The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence–Revised was administered at age 5 years, producing verbal and performance intelligence quotients (VIQ and PIQ); associations with each cytokine were evaluated using linear and logistic regression. Log-unit increases in IFN-γ (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.46, 0.98) and interleukin-12p70 (aOR = 0.43, 95% CI: 0.21, 0.87) were inversely associated with low PIQ (score <70). One log-unit increase in TNF-α was associated with a reduced odds ratio for low VIQ (score <70) among preterm children (aOR = 0.11, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.94) and an elevated odds ratio for low VIQ among small-for-gestational-age children (aOR = 3.96, 95% CI: 0.99, 15.9). IFN-γ, which is involved in neurogenesis and perinatal adaptive immunity, may be related to fetal neurologic development overall, while TNF-α may be a marker of intellectual development in vulnerable subgroups.
child development; cohort studies; cytokines; intelligence tests; interferon-gamma; tumor necrosis factor-alpha; umbilical cord
The Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network (SCRN) has conducted a multisite, population-based, case-control study, with prospective enrollment of stillbirths and live births at the time of delivery. This paper describes the general design, methods, and recruitment experience. The SCRN attempted to enroll all stillbirths and a representative sample of live births occurring to residents of pre-defined geographic catchment areas delivering at 59 hospitals associated with five clinical sites. Live births <32 weeks gestation and women of African descent were oversampled. The recruitment hospitals were chosen to ensure access to at least 90% of all stillbirths and live births to residents of the catchment areas. Participants underwent a standardized protocol including maternal interview, medical record abstraction, placental pathology, biospecimen testing, and, in stillbirths, postmortem examination. Recruitment began in March 2006 and was completed in September 2008 with 663 women with a stillbirth and 1932 women with a live birth enrolled, representing 69% and 63%, respectively, of the women identified. Additional surveillance for stillbirth continued through June 2009 and a follow-up of the case-control study participants was completed in December 2009.
Among consenting women, there were high consent rates for the various study components. For the women with stillbirth, 95% agreed to maternal interview, chart abstraction, and placental pathologic examination; 91% of the women with live birth agreed to all of these components. Additionally, 84% of the women with stillbirth agreed to a fetal postmortem examination. This comprehensive study is poised to systematically study a wide range of potential causes of, and risk factors for, stillbirth and to better understand the scope and incidence of the problem.
Ninety-eight percent of the 3.7 million neonatal deaths and 3.3 million stillbirths per year occur in developing countries, and evaluation of community-based interventions is needed.
Using a train-the-trainer model, local instructors trained birth attendants from rural communities in six countries (Argentina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, Pakistan, and Zambia) in the World Health Organization Essential Newborn Care course (routine neonatal care, resuscitation, thermoregulation, breastfeeding, kangaroo care, care of the small baby, and common illnesses), and in a modified version of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (in depth basic resuscitation), except in Argentina.
The Essential Newborn Care intervention was assessed with a before and after design (N=57, 643). The Neonatal Resuscitation Program intervention was assessed as a cluster randomized controlled trial (N=62,366). The primary outcome was 7-day neonatal mortality.
The 7-day follow-up rate was 99.2%. Following Essential Newborn Care training, there was no significant reduction from baseline in all-cause 7-day neonatal (RR 0.99; CI 0.81, 1.22) or perinatal mortality; there was a significant reduction in the stillbirth rate (RR 0.69; CI 0.54, 0.88; p<0.01). Seven-day neonatal mortality, stillbirth, and perinatal mortality were not reduced in clusters randomized to Neonatal Resuscitation Program training as compared with control clusters.
Seven-day neonatal mortality did not decrease following the introduction of Essential Newborn Care training of community-based birth attendants, although the rate of stillbirths was reduced following this intervention. Subsequent training in the Neonatal Resuscitation Program did not significantly reduce the mortality rates. (clinicaltrials.gov number, NCT00136708).
neonatal mortality; perinatal mortality; developing countries; health systems; effectiveness
To correlate maternal and cord blood cytokine and ICAM-1 levels with antibiotic exposure and perinatal outcomes after conservatively managed preterm PROM
Conservatively managed women with preterm PROM at 24–32 weeks had blood sampling at randomization (N=222) and delivery (N=121). Plasma from these, and umbilical cord blood (N=196), was stored at −70C. IL-6, IL-10, G-CSF, TNF-alpha and ICAM-1 levels were assessed for associations with antibiotic treatment, latency, amnionitis, neonatal sepsis, pneumonia, and composite neonatal morbidity.
Cord blood IL-6 and G-CSF were higher than maternal levels. Antibiotic treatment lowered only maternal G-CSF (p=0.01). Elevated maternal cytokine levels were associated with delivery within seven days and with development of chorioamnionitis. All umbilical cord blood markers were increased with amnionitis (p≤0.01 for each). No maternal marker was associated with neonatal morbidities. Cord G-CSF and IL-6 were increased with neonatal sepsis within 72 hours of birth (p=0.004 for both), and with composite neonatal morbidity; (p=0.001 and 0.002, respectively). Maternal and umbilical cord cytokine levels demonstrated low predictive values for perinatal outcomes.
Umbilical cord blood cytokine values are higher than maternal levels, suggesting significant fetal/placental contribution. Maternal and umbilical cord cytokine levels are not adequately predictive to be used clinically.
cytokines; tumor necrosis factor-alpha; granulocyte colony stimulating factor; intercellular adhesion molecule-1; premature rupture of membranes; PROM
Objective. To identify maternal and early childhood risk factors for obesity and overweight among children at age 5 in the state of Alabama. Methods. We recruited 740 mothers during early pregnancy from University of Alabama Prenatal Clinics in a prospective cohort study and followed them throughout pregnancy. We followed their children from birth until 5 years of age. The main outcome measure was obesity (BMI for age and sex ≥ 95th percentile) at 5 years of age. We used poisson regression with robust variance estimation to compute risk ratio (RR). Results. At the 5th year of followup, 71 (9.6%) of the children were obese and 85 (11.5%) were overweight (BMI ≥ 85th–<95th percentile). In multivariable analysis, maternal prepregnancy overweight (RR: 2.30, 95% CI: 1.29–4.11) and obesity (RR: 2.53, 95% CI: 1.49–4.31), and child's birth weight >85th percentile (RR: 2.04, 95% CI: 1.13–3.68) were associated with childhood obesity. Maternal prepregnancy BMI, birth weight, and maternal smoking were associated with the child being overweight 1–12 cigarettes/day versus 0 cigarettes/day (RR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.02–1.91). Conclusion. Children of overweight and obese mothers, and children with higher birth weight, are more likely to be obese and overweight at age 5. Maternal smoking 1–12 cigarettes per day is associated with the child being overweight.