Small for gestational age (SGA) infants are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality. We sought to identify risk factors associated with SGA and examined the potential for reducing the proportion of infants with SGA at a population level.
Birth and hospital records were linked for births occurring in 2007–2010 in New South Wales, Australia. The analysis was stratified into three groups: preterm births, term births to non-diabetic mothers and term births to diabetic mothers. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between SGA and a range of socio-demographic and behavioural factors and health conditions, with generalised estimating equations to account for correlation among births to the same mother. Model-based population attributable fractions (PAFs) were calculated for risk factors that were considered causative and potentially modifiable.
Of 28,126 SGA infants, the largest group was term infants of non-diabetic mothers (88.5%), followed by term infants of diabetic mothers (6.3%) and preterm infants (5.3%). The highest PAFs were for smoking: 12.4% for preterm SGA and 10.3% for term SGA infants of non-diabetic mothers. Other risk factors for SGA that were considered modifiable included: illicit drug dependency or abuse in pregnancy in all three groups, and pregnancy hypertension and late commencement of antenatal care in term infants of non-diabetic mothers, but PAFs were less than 3%.
There are opportunities for modest reduction of the prevalence of SGA through reduction in smoking in pregnancy, and possibly earlier commencement of antenatal care and improved management of high-risk pregnancies.
Small for gestational age; Population attributable fraction; Record linkage
Maternal morbidity estimations are not based on well-documented methodologies and thus have limited validity for informing efforts to address the issue and improve maternal health. To fill this gap, maternal morbidity needs to be clearly defined, driving the development of tools and indicators to measure and monitor maternal health. This article describes the scoping exercise conducted by the World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive of Health and Research (WHO/RHR), as an essential first step in this process.
A literature review was conducted to identify the range of definitions and conditions included in various studies of maternal morbidity with a special focus on the similarities and discrepancies of the definitions used across the studies. Furthermore a questionnaire was developed which included sections on key areas identified during the review and was sent out electronically to 130 international experts in the field of maternal health.
Maternal morbidities have been categorized in a variety of ways based on the causes, types of complications, and/or timeline. Issues regarding the time frame, severity, identification and classification and demographics were identified as key areas in the literature that require further investigation to achieve consensus on a maternal morbidity definition. Fifty-five (N = 55) individuals responded with completed questionnaires. Respondents’ views on the time frame for the postpartum period varied from 6 weeks to beyond one year postpartum, it was noted that time frame depended on the type of complication. The majority of respondents said maternal morbidity should comprise a continuum of severity, whereas the identification of the cases should use a mixed criteria employing multiple methods.
Significant discrepancy in literature and expert opinion exists concerning elements of a maternal morbidity definition. There is a clear need for a concrete definition that would allow for consistent measurement and monitoring of maternal morbidity across settings and time.
Although antenatal care coverage in Ghana is high, there exist gaps in the continued use of maternity care, especially utilization of skilled assistance during delivery. Many pregnant women seek care from different sources aside the formal health sector. This is due to negative perceptions resulting from poor service quality experiences in health facilities. Moreover, the socio-cultural environment plays a major role for this care-seeking behavior. This paper seeks to examine beliefs, knowledge and perceptions about pregnancy and delivery and care-seeking behavior among pregnant women in urban Accra, Ghana.
A qualitative study with 6 focus group discussions and 13 in-depth interviews were conducted at Taifa-Kwabenya and Madina sub-districts, Accra. Participants included mothers who had delivered within the past 12 months, pregnant women, community members, religious and community leaders, orthodox and non-orthodox healthcare providers. Interviews and discussions were audio-taped, transcribed and coded into larger themes and categories.
Evidence showed perceived threats, which are often given socio-cultural interpretations, increased women’s anxieties, driving them to seek multiple sources of care. Crucially, care-seeking behavior among pregnant women indicated sequential or concurrent use of biomedical care and other forms of care including herbalists, traditional birth attendants, and spiritual care. Use of multiple sources of care in some cases disrupted continued use of skilled provider care. Furthermore, use of multiple forms of care is encouraged by a perception that facility-based care is useful only for antenatal services and emergencies. It also highlights the belief among some participants that care from multiple sources are complementary to each other.
Socio-cultural interpretations of threats to pregnancy mediate pregnant women’s use of available healthcare services. Efforts to encourage continued use of maternity care, especially skilled birth assistance at delivery, should focus on addressing generally perceived dangers to pregnancy. Also, the attractiveness of facility-based care offers important opportunities for building collaborations between orthodox and alternative care providers with the aim of increasing use of skilled obstetric care. Conventional antenatal care should be packaged to provide psychosocial support that helps women deal with pregnancy-related fear.
Pregnancy; Perception; Beliefs; Socio-cultural; Healthcare; Ghana
Trisomy 18 (T18) and trisomy 13 (T13) are the second and third commonest autosomal aneuploidy syndromes respectively. While specific aspects of affected pregnancies have been documented in the literature, few studies document the overall natural history of the trisomies. This study aimed to examine the natural history (including diagnosis, pregnancy outcome, complications and survival) of T18 and T13 pregnancies in a setting where termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality is not available.
Cases were identified using birth registers, labour ward records, annual reports, medical records, ultrasound reports and reports from prenatal genetic testing. All identified T18 and T13 pregnancies in the study region from 2001 to 2012 were included. Individual chart reviews were performed for each case. Data were analysed using SPSS Version 20.
Forty-six T18 and twenty-four T13 pregnancies were identified. Most T18 cases (65%) were diagnosed prenatally, while only one third (33%) of T13 cases were prenatally diagnosed. Only three T18 pregnancies and one T13 pregnancy were electively terminated. A proportion of undiagnosed infants were delivered by emergency caesarean section. 48% (T18) and 46% (T13) infants survived following birth, for a median of 1.5 days (T18) and 7 days (T13). One T13 infant is currently alive over one year of age.
This large series provides information for professionals and women regarding the natural histories of trisomies 18 and 13. These pregnancies can go undiagnosed antenatally without routine anomaly scanning. While many fetuses die in-utero, postnatal survival is possible.
Trisomy 18; Trisomy 13; Aneuploidy; Pregnancy
Obstetric hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality, particularly in low-resource settings where women face significant delays in accessing definitive treatment. The Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment (NASG) is a first-aid device to stabilize women in hypovolemic shock secondary to obstetric hemorrhage. Prior studies on the effectiveness of the NASG have suffered from small sample sizes and insufficient statistical power. We sought to generate a summary effect estimate of this intervention by combining data from all previous quasi-experimental studies.
Five quasi-experimental studies that tested the NASG as treatment for hypovolemic shock secondary to obstetric hemorrhage at the tertiary care facility level were included in the analysis. We evaluated heterogeneity of effect across studies and calculated pooled odds ratios. We also conducted a subgroup analysis among women in the most severe condition.
Participant characteristics were similar across studies with some variation in hemorrhage etiology. Median blood loss was at least 50% lower in the intervention group than the control group. The pooled odds ratio suggested that NASG intervention was associated with a 38% significantly reduced odds of mortality among the overall sample, and a 59% significantly reduced odds of mortality among the most severe women.
The results from this combined analysis suggest that NASG intervention is associated with a reduced odds of death for women with hypovolemic shock secondary to obstetric hemorrhage. Further research should focus on application of the NASG at the community or primary health care level, and utilize a more robust methodology.
Obstetric hemorrhage; Hypovolemic shock; Non-pneumatic anti-shock garment; NASG
Preeclampsia is a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide and especially in Latin America. High quality evidence indicates that calcium supplementation during pregnancy significantly reduces the incidence of preeclampsia and its consequences, including severe maternal morbidity and death. Few studies have assessed the implementation of this intervention in clinical practice. The study aimed to assess the proportion of pregnant women who received calcium supplements in Brazilian public antenatal care clinics.
This cross-sectional study interviewed women waiting for antenatal care visits in 9 public clinics in 4 Brazilian cities in 2010-2012. Trained interviewers used a standardized anonymous questionnaire to collect socio demographic and obstetric data, information on ingestion of dairy products and on prescriptions received during current pregnancy.
A total of 788 valid questionnaires were analyzed. Participants were young (mean age 25.9), mostly multiparous (71.3%) and in the 2nd or 3rd trimesters of pregnancy at the time of interview (87.6%). Only 5.1% (40/788) had received a prescription for calcium supplements. Based on their reported ingestion of dairy products, the mean daily dietary calcium intake of the participants was 210 (+ 265) mg/day and over 90% consumed less than 1 g of calcium/day.
Despite good quality evidence indicating the benefits of this practice especially for women with low calcium diets, less than 6% of a sample of women receiving antenatal care in Brazilian public clinics received a prescription for calcium supplements. There is an urgent need to upscale the implementation of this life-saving intervention.
Preeclampsia; Eclampsia; Calcium; Dietary supplements; Primary prevention; Calcium dietary; Developing countries
Understanding the main values and beliefs that might promote humanized birth practices in the specialized hospitals requires articulating the theoretical knowledge of the social and cultural characteristics of the childbirth field and the relations between these and the institution. This paper aims to provide a conceptual framework allowing examination of childbirth practices through the lens of an organizational culture theory. A literature review performed to extrapolate the social and cultural factors contribute to birth practices and the factors likely overlap and mutually reinforce one another, instead of complying with the organizational culture of the birth place. The proposed conceptual framework in this paper examined childbirth patterns as an organizational cultural phenomenon in a highly specialized hospital, in Montreal, Canada. Allaire and Firsirotu’s organizational culture theory served as a guide in the development of the framework. We discussed the application of our conceptual model in understanding the influences of organizational culture components in the humanization of birth practices in the highly specialized hospitals and explained how these components configure both the birth practice and women’s choice in highly specialized hospitals. The proposed framework can be used as a tool for understanding the barriers and facilitating factors encountered birth practices in specialized hospitals.
Humanization of childbirth; Organizational culture; Social birth; Conceptual framework
Since the 1970-ies Sweden has actively developed strategies in social care, education and health care in order to counteract the negative consequences of adolescent parenthood. The aims of this study are to determine the annual incidence of singleton delivery among adolescents 1973–2010 and analyse obstetric and neonatal outcomes.
A retrospective cohort study, using data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register was conducted. All singleton deliveries in Sweden between 1973 and 2010 were included. Totally 1,941,940 women had 3,761,576 deliveries during the period. Analyses of obstetric and neonatal outcome were restricted to 1992–2010. Adolescents were subdivided into three groups: <16 years (n = 472), 16–17 years (n = 5376), 18–19 years (n = 23560). The reference group consisted of women age 20–30 years (n = 893505). Data were analysed using multivariate logistic regression models adjusted for confounding factors and presented as crude and adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence interval.
The annual incidence of teenage births decreased significantly from 7.7 to 1.6%. Teenagers were more likely to deliver normally vaginally (aOR 1.70 (95%CI 1.64-1.75), less likely to have Caesarean section (aOR 0.61 (95%CI 0.58-0.64), and had a greater risk of delivering prematurely (< 28 weeks)(aOR 1.61 (95%CI 1.31-2.00), but did not have more small-for-gestational-age babies (aOR 1.07 (95%CI 0.99-1.14). Risks of placenta previa, postpartum haemorrhage > 1000 ml and perineal rupture were significantly lower among teenagers. Although the rate with Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes was similar the teenager’s neonates showed less fetal distress and meconium aspiration.
Adolescent births have steadily decreased in Sweden. Adolescents were more likely to be delivered vaginally than the adult women. The risks for obstetric maternal complications for adolescents were lower than for adult women except for the risk of prematurity.
Adolescent birth; Incidence; Epidemiology; Mode of delivery; Neonatal outcome; Risk factors
Exclusive breastfeeding is an important component of child survival and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in resource-poor settings like Malawi. In Malawi, children under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed for an average duration of 3.7 months. This falls short of the recommendations by the World Health Organization as well as the Malawi Ministry of Health that mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of the child’s life. Understanding factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding duration among HIV-positive mothers is important in promoting exclusive breastfeeding among these mothers. An exploratory study was therefore conducted to determine factors that influence HIV-positive mothers’ prenatal intended duration of exclusive breastfeeding and their likelihood to exclusively breastfeed for six months.
This paper is based on data from a longitudinal, descriptive and correlation study that was conducted at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi between May 12, 2009 and March 22, 2010. Theory of Planned Behavior guided the study. A face-to-face survey was utilized to collect data from a convenience sample of 110 HIV-positive mothers who were at least 36 weeks pregnant at baseline. A modified and pre-tested breastfeeding attrition prediction tool was used to measure exclusive breastfeeding beliefs, intentions and external influences at baseline. Data were analyzed using descriptive and association statistics. Additionally, multiple regressions were run to determine significant predictors of HIV-positive mothers’ prenatal intended duration of exclusive breastfeeding and their likelihood to exclusively breastfeed for six months.
Results revealed high exclusive breastfeeding prenatal intentions among HIV-positive mothers. Prenatal intended duration of exclusive breastfeeding was positively associated with normative, control beliefs and negatively associated with positive beliefs, maternal education and disclosure of HIV status.
Current results suggest that assessment of mothers’ level of education and their positive beliefs towards exclusive breastfeeding may help to identify mothers who are at risk of discontinuing exclusive breastfeeding. Interventions to promote exclusive breastfeeding could include provision of appropriate skills, support and information to help HIV-positive mothers gain control over exclusive breastfeeding.
Prenatal intentions; Intended duration of exclusive breastfeeding; HIV-positive mothers; Behavioral beliefs; Normative beliefs; Control beliefs
Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is a major risk factor for macrosomia (high birth weight delivery). This study aimed to explore views about weight gain and lifestyle practices during pregnancy among women with a history of macrosomia.
A qualitative descriptive study was conducted. Twenty-one second-time mothers whose first infant was macrosomic (>4 kg) were recruited from a randomised trial in a large maternity hospital in the Republic of Ireland. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants at both 6 and 12 months after their second pregnancy. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify distinct themes.
The mothers believed in following their prenatal food cravings to meet their baby’s needs, but this led some to eat excessively. Many of the women cut back heavily on physical activity during pregnancy due to perceived risks to the baby. Physical conditions and discomforts during pregnancy often limited maternal control over weight and lifestyle practices. The women were not particularly concerned about weight gain during pregnancy and most did not favour the notion of introducing weight gain guidelines into routine antenatal care. Common differences perceived by the women between their first and second pregnancy included: increased concern about weight gain in their second pregnancy due to prior difficulties with postpartum weight loss and increased time demands in their second pregnancy impeded healthy lifestyle practices. Most women did not alter their perspectives on weight gain and lifestyle practices in their second pregnancy in response to having a macrosomic infant in their first pregnancy.
This analysis exposed numerous barriers to healthy pregnancy weight gain. The findings suggest that women may need to be advised to follow their prenatal food cravings in moderation. Pregnant women with children already may benefit from education on time-efficient methods of integrating healthy eating practices and physical activity into their lifestyles. Women with a history of macrosomia may need information about the importance of avoiding high weight gain in subsequent pregnancies.
Weight gain during pregnancy; Macrosomia; Qualitative research; Lifestyle practices
Prior reports suggest a link between gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and gastrointestinal function. The aim of the study was to prospectively investigate women subjected to in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the GnRH analog buserelin, taking into account gastrointestinal symptoms and antibody development against buserelin, GnRH, luteinizing hormone (LH), and their receptors.
Gastrointestinal symptoms were registered by the Visual Analogue Scale for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (VAS-IBS) before and after IVF treatment, and five years later. Health-related quality of life was evaluated by the 36-item Short-Form questionnaire (SF-36). ELISA was used for antibody analyses before and after treatment. Data were compared with women from the general population.
In total, 124 patients were investigated before and after IVF, and 62 were re-evaluated after five years. Buserelin treatment led to significant impairment of constipation (p = 0.004), nausea and vomiting (p = 0.035), psychological well-being (p = 0.000), and the intestinal symptoms’ influence on daily life (p = 0.027). At 5-year follow-up, abdominal pain was worsened (p = 0.041), but psychological well-being was improved (p = 0.036), compared to prior treatment, and 15% had an observable deterioration in gastrointestinal symptoms. None developed severe dysmotility. Patients had higher prevalence of IgG antibodies against LH (p = 0.001) and its receptor (p = 0.016), and IgM antibodies against the GnRH receptor (p = 0.001) prior treatment compared with controls, but no antibody development was observed after IVF.
Patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms during buserelin treatment, and abdominal pain is still increased after five years, but buserelin does not increase antibody formation against GnRH, LH or their receptors.
Abdominal pain; Gastrointestinal symptoms; Gonadotropin-releasing hormone; In vitro fertilization; Luteinizing hormone
According to the Office for National Statistics, approximately a quarter of women giving birth in England and Wales are from minority ethnic groups. Previous work has indicated that these women have poorer pregnancy outcomes than White women and poorer experience of maternity care, sometimes encountering stereotyping and racism. The aims of this study were to examine service use and perceptions of care in ethnic minority women from different groups compared to White women.
Secondary analysis of data from a survey of women in 2010 was undertaken. The questionnaire asked about women’s experience of care during pregnancy, labour and birth, and the postnatal period, as well as demographic factors. Ethnicity was grouped into eight categories: White, Mixed, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean, Black African, and Other ethnicity.
A total of 24,319 women completed the survey. Compared to White women, women from minority ethnic groups were more likely to be younger, multiparous and without a partner. They tended to access antenatal care later in pregnancy, have fewer antenatal checks, fewer ultrasound scans and less screening. They were less likely to receive pain relief in labour and, Black African women in particular, were more likely to deliver by emergency caesarean section. Postnatally, women from minority ethnic groups had longer lengths of hospital stay and were more likely to breastfeed but they had fewer home visits from midwives. Throughout their maternity care, women from minority ethnic groups were less likely to feel spoken to so they could understand, to be treated with kindness, to be sufficiently involved in decisions and to have confidence and trust in the staff.
Women in all minority ethnic groups had a poorer experience of maternity services than White women. That this was still the case following publication of a number of national policy documents and local initiatives is a cause for concern.
Ethnic groups; Maternity care; Pregnancy; Health care surveys; England
There are several barriers for pregnant women to deliver in a health care facility. This prospective cohort study investigated factors affecting facility delivery and reasons for unplanned place of delivery after implementation of the safer mother programme in Nepal.
Baseline interviews using a validated questionnaire were conducted on a sample of 700 pregnant women representative of the Kaski district in central Nepal. Follow-up interviews of the cohort were then conducted within 45 days postpartum. Stepwise logistic regression analysis was performed to determine factors associated with the facility delivery outcome.
Of the 644 pregnant women whose delivery location had been identified, 547 (85%) gave birth in a health care facility. Women were more likely to deliver in a health facility if they were educated especially with higher secondary or above qualification (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 12.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.09 to 30.17), attended 4 or more antenatal care visits (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.25 to 3.69), and lived within 30 minutes to the facility (OR 11.61, 95% CI 5.77 to 24.04). For the 97 women who delivered at home, 72 (74.2%) were unplanned, mainly due to quick precipitation of labour making it impossible to reach a health facility.
It appeared that facility delivery occurs more frequent among educated women and those who live nearby, even though maternity services are now freely available in Nepal. Because of the difficult terrain and transportation problem in rural areas, interventions that make maternity service physically accessible during antenatal period are needed to increase the utilisation of health facility for child birth.
Determinants; Factors; Facility delivery; Childbirth; Maternal health services; Nepal
Childbirth fear has received considerable attention in Scandinavian countries, and the United Kingdom, but not in Australia. For first-time mothers, fear is often linked to a perceived lack of control and disbelief in the body’s ability to give birth safely, whereas multiparous women may be fearful as a result of previous negative and/or traumatic birth experiences. There have been few well-designed intervention studies that test interventions to address women’s childbirth fear, support normal birth, and diminish the possibility of a negative birth experience.
Pregnant women in their second trimester of pregnancy will be recruited and screened from antenatal clinics in Queensland, Australia. Women reporting high childbirth fear will be randomly allocated to the intervention or control group. The psycho-educational intervention is offered by midwives over the telephone at 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. The intervention aims to review birth expectations, work through distressing elements of childbirth, discuss strategies to develop support networks, affirm that negative childbirth events can be managed and develop a birth plan. Women in the control group will receive standard care offered by the public funded maternity services in Australia. All women will receive an information booklet on childbirth choices. Data will be collected at recruitment during the second trimester, 36 weeks of pregnancy, and 4–6 weeks after birth.
This study aims to test the efficacy of a brief, midwife-led psycho-education counselling (known as BELIEF: Birth Emotions - Looking to Improve Expectant Fear) to reduce women’s childbirth fear. 1) Relative to controls, women receiving BELIEF will report lower levels of childbirth fear at term; 2) less decisional conflict; 3) less depressive symptoms; 4) better childbirth self-efficacy; and 5) improved health and obstetric outcomes.
Australian New Zealand Controlled Trials Registry ACTRN12612000526875.
Pregnancy; Childbirth fear; Psycho-education; Midwife-led counselling; Randomised controlled trial; Postnatal depression; Decisional conflict; EQ-5D; Self-efficacy
International studies suggest that breastfeeding interventions in primary care are more effective than usual care in increasing short and long term breastfeeding rates. Interventions that combine pre- and postnatal components have larger effects than either alone, and those that including lay support in a multicomponent intervention may be more beneficial. Despite the mixed reports of the effectiveness of breastfeeding peer support in the UK, targeted peer support services are being established in many areas of the UK. In 2010, NHS Bristol Primary Care Trust commissioned a targeted breastfeeding peer support service for mothers in 12 lower socio-economic areas of the city, with one antenatal visit and postnatal contact for up to 2 weeks.
Mothers receiving the peer support service were invited to complete an on-line survey covering infant feeding; breastfeeding support; and confidence in breastfeeding (using the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale). Semi-structured interviews and a focus group explored perceptions of mothers, midwives and peer supporters. The effects of the service on breastfeeding rates were documented and compared.
163 mothers completed the on-line survey; 25 participants were interviewed (14 mothers, 7 peer supporters and 4 maternity health professionals); exclusive and total breastfeeding rates for initiation and at 8 weeks were compared for 12 months before and after the service started.
The targeted peer support service was associated with small non-significant increases in breastfeeding rates, (particularly exclusive breastfeeding), compared to the rest of the city. The service was very positively evaluated by mothers, health professionals and peer supporters. Mothers felt that peer support increased their confidence to breastfeed; peer supporters found the contacts rewarding, enjoyable and important for mothers; midwives and maternity support workers were positive about the continuity of an antenatal visit and postnatal support from the same local supporter.
The introduction of a targeted peer support service was associated with psycho-social benefits for mothers, health professionals and peer supporters. Continuity of peer support with an antenatal visit and postnatal support from the same local supporter was also thought to be beneficial.
Breastfeeding; Peer support; Self-efficacy; Survey; Qualitative; Evaluation
Maternal morbidity and mortality remains high in Uganda; largely due to inadequate antenatal care (ANC), low skilled deliveries and poor quality of other maternal health services. In order to address both the demand and quality of ANC and skilled deliveries, we introduced community mobilization and health facility capacity strengthening interventions.
Interventions were introduced between January 2010 and September 2011. These included: training health workers, provision of medical supplies, community mobilization using village health teams, music dance and drama groups and male partner access clubs. These activities were implemented at Kitgum Matidi health center III and its catchment area. Routinely collected health facility data on selected outcomes in the year preceding the interventions and after 21 months of implementation of the interventions was reviewed. Trend analysis was performed using excel and statistical significance testing was performed using EPINFO StatCal option.
The number of pregnant women attending the first ANC visit significantly increased from 114 to 150 in the first and fourth quarter of 2010 (OR 1.72; 95% CI 1.39–2.12) and to 202 in the third quarter of 2011(OR 11.41; 95% CI 7.97–16.34). The number of pregnant women counselled, tested and given results for HIV during the first ANC attendance significantly rose from 92 (80.7%) to 146 (97.3%) in the first and fourth quarter of 2010 and then to 201 (99.5%) in the third quarter of 2011. The number of male partners counseled, tested and given results together with their wives at first ANC visit rose from 13 (16.7%) in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 130 (89%) in the fourth quarter of 2010 and to 180 (89.6%) in the third quarter of 2011. There was a significant rise in the number of pregnant women delivering in the health facility with provision of mama-kits (delivery kits), from 74 (55.2%) to 149 (99.3%) in the second and fourth quarter of 2010.
Combined community and facility systems strengthening interventions led to increased first ANC visits by women and their partners, and health facility deliveries. Interventions aimed at increasing uptake of maternal health services should address both the demand and availability of quality services.
Trends; Antenatal care; Health facility delivery; Community; Health facility; Systems strengthening
Previous studies carried out in our laboratories have demonstrated impaired drug permeation in diabetic animals. In this study the permeation of diazepam (after a single dose of 5 mg/day, administered intramuscularly) will be investigated in diabetic and hypertensive pregnant women.
A total 75 pregnant women were divided into three groups: group 1 (healthy control, n = 31), group 2 (diabetic, n = 14) and group 3 (hypertensive, n = 30). Two sets of diazepam plasma concentrations were collected and measured (after the administration of the same dose of diazepam), before, during and after delivery. The first set of blood samples was taken from the mother (maternal venous plasma). The second set of samples was taken from the fetus (fetal umbilical venous and arterial plasma). In order to assess the effect of diabetes and hypertension on diazepam placental-permeation, the ratios of fetal to maternal blood concentrations were determined. Differences were considered statistically significant if p ≤ 0.05.
The diabetes and hypertension groups have 2-fold increase in the fetal umbilical-venous concentrations, compared to the maternal venous concentrations. Feto: maternal plasma-concentrations ratios were higher in diabetes (2.01 ± 1.10) and hypertension (2.26 ± 1.23) groups compared with control (1.30 ± 0.48) while, there was no difference in ratios between the diabetes and hypertension groups. Umbilical-cord arterial: venous ratios (within each group) were similar among all groups (control: 0.97 ± 0.32; hypertension: 1.08 ± 0.60 and diabetes: 1.02 ± 0.77).
On line with our previous findings which demonstrate disturbed transcellular trafficking of lipophilic drugs in diabetes, this study shows significant increase in diazepam placental-permeation in diabetic and hypertensive pregnant women suggesting poor transcellular control of drug permeation and flux, and bigger exposure of the fetus to drug-placental transport.
Drug placental-permeation; Diazepam; Diabetes; Hypertension
An evidence-based strategy exists to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality associated with severe pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (PE/E), but it may be difficult to implement in low-resource settings. This study examines whether facilities that provide emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) in Afghanistan have the capacity to manage severe PE/E cases.
A further analysis was conducted of the 2009–10 Afghanistan EmONC Needs Assessment. Assessors observed equipment and supplies available, and services provided at 78 of the 127 facilities offering comprehensive EmONC services and interviewed 224 providers. The providers also completed a written case scenario on severe PE/E. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize facility and provider characteristics. Student t-test, one-way ANOVA, and chi-square tests were performed to determine whether there were significant differences between facility types, doctors and midwives, and trained and untrained providers.
The median number of severe PE/E cases in the past year was just 5 (range 0–42) at comprehensive health centers (CHCs) and district hospitals, compared with 44 (range 0–130) at provincial hospitals and 108 (range 32–540) at regional and specialized hospitals (p < 0.001). Most facilities had the drugs and supplies needed to treat severe PE/E, including the preferred anticonvulsant, magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). One-third of the smallest facilities and half of larger facilities reported administering a second-line drug, diazepam, in some cases. In the case scenario, 96% of doctors and 89% of midwives recognized that MgSO4 should be used to manage severe PE/E, but 42% of doctors and 58% of midwives also thought diazepam had a role to play. Providers who were trained on the use of MgSO4 scored significantly higher than untrained providers on six of 20 items in the case scenario. Providers at larger facilities significantly outscored those at smaller facilities on five items. There was a significant difference between doctors and midwives on only one item: continued use of anti-hypertensives after convulsions are controlled.
Drugs and supplies needed to treat severe PE/E are widely available at EmONC facilities in Afghanistan, but providers lack knowledge in some areas, especially concerning the use of MgSO4 and diazepam. Providers who have specialized training or work at larger facilities are better at managing cases of severe PE/E. The findings suggest a need to clarify service delivery guidelines, offer refresher training, and reinforce best practices with supervision and reinforcement.
Pre-eclampsia; Eclampsia; Magnesium sulfate; Emergency obstetric care; Afghanistan
Maternal and infant mortality rates in the district of Chitral in Pakistan are alarmingly high. One of the major reasons for this is the inability of women to access skilled care due to the high costs associated with traveling and utilizing such services. The Aga Khan Health Services, Pakistan (AKHSP) in partnership with the national and provincial Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) program, deployed 28 community midwives (CMWs) in remote villages of Chitral district. This program has also established Community-Based Savings Groups (CBSGs) to support and facilitate access to MNCH services, in particular those delivered by the CMWs. CBSGs are a simple yet cost-effective and sustainable means of providing basic financial services to low income, marginalized, rural populations.
The link between CBSGs and utilization of MNCH services is not well understood. This study will assess the relationship between women membership of CBSGs and their utilization of MNCH services, specifically those offered by CMWs, in the community.
The research question will be answered through guided interviews of women in the target population who have delivered within one month. The outcome variable will be the utilization of full continuum of skilled MNCH care (disaggregated by 1+ ANC, 1+ PNC and skilled delivery). The primary independent variable of interest will be participation in a CBSG.
Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) will be conducted to generate further understanding and information about the social and financial factors that contribute to health behavior and health provider decision-making during pregnancy.
Analysis will be tailored to answer how CBSGs, directly or indirectly, facilitate greater financial and/or social access to CMW services for pregnant women. Furthermore, the extent to which financial or social empowerment through a CBSG leads to greater utilization of CMW services.
The role of CBSGs and their interlink with the CMWs services to be replicated in other comparable areas in Pakistan as a viable mean to increase MNCH service utilization amongst rural, low income, and marginalized communities. Findings from this research will be disseminated through community, national, and international channels consisting of policy makers and social society groups.
Community based savings groups; Community midwives; Maternal Neonatal and Child Health
Stillbirth classifications use various strategies to synthesise information associated with fetal demise with the aim of identifying key causes for the death. RECODE is a hierarchical classification of death-related conditions, which grants a major place to fetal growth restriction (FGR). Our objective was to explore how placement of FGR in the hierarchy affected results from the classification.
In the Rhône-Alpes region, all stillbirths were recorded in a local registry from 2000 to 2010 in three districts (N = 969). Small for gestational age (SGA) was defined as a birthweight below the 10th percentile. We applied RECODE and then modified the hierarchy, including FGR as the penultimate category (RECODE-R).
49.0% of stillbirths were SGA. From RECODE to RECODE-R, stillbirths attributable to FGR decreased from 38% to 14%, in favour of other related conditions. Nearly half of SGA stillbirths (49%) were reclassified. There was a non-significant tendency toward moderate SGA, singletons and full-term stillbirths to older mothers being reclassified.
The position of FGR in hierarchical stillbirth classification has a major impact on the first condition associated with stillbirth. RECODE-R calls less attention to monitoring SGA fetuses but illustrates the diversity of death-related conditions for small fetuses.
Stillbirths; Classification; Cause of death; Associated conditions; Small for gestational age; Fetal growth
Politics plays a critical role in agenda setting in health affairs; therefore, understanding the priorities of the political agenda in health is very important. The political priority for safe motherhood has been investigated at the national level in different countries. The objective of this study was to explore why and how maternal health became a political priority at sub-national level in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India.
This study followed a qualitative design. Data were collected by carrying out interviews and review of documents. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with twenty respondents from four stakeholder groups: government officials, development partners, civil society and academics. Data analysis was performed using thematic analysis. The analysis was guided by Kingdon’s multiple streams model.
The emergence of maternal health as a political priority in Madhya Pradesh was the result of convergence in the developments in different streams: the development of problem definition, policy generation and political change. The factors which influenced this process were: emerging evidence of the high magnitude of maternal mortality, civil society’s positioning of maternal mortality as a human rights violation, increasing media coverage, supportive policy environment and launch of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the availability of effective policy solutions, India’s aspiration of global leadership, international influence, maternal mortality becoming a hot debate topic and political transition at the national and state levels. Most of these factors first became important at national level which then cascaded to the state level. Currently, there is a supportive policy environment in the state for maternal health backed by greater political will and increased resources. However, malnutrition and population stabilization are the competing priorities which may push maternal health off the agenda.
The influence of the events and factors evolving from international and national levels significantly contributed to the development of maternal health as a priority in Madhya Pradesh. This led to several opportunities in terms of policies, guidelines and programmes for improving maternal health. These efforts were successful to some extent in improving maternal health in the state but several implementation challenges still require special attention.
Maternal health; Maternal mortality; Political priority; Madhya Pradesh; India
Many European countries including Ireland lack high quality, on-going, population based estimates of maternal behaviours and experiences during pregnancy. PRAMS is a CDC surveillance program which was established in the United States in 1987 to generate high quality, population based data to reduce infant mortality rates and improve maternal and infant health. PRAMS is the only on-going population based surveillance system of maternal behaviours and experiences that occur before, during and after pregnancy worldwide.
The objective of this study was to adapt, test and evaluate a modified CDC PRAMS methodology in Ireland. The birth certificate file which is the standard approach to sampling for PRAMS in the United States was not available for the PRAMS Ireland study. Consequently, delivery record books for the period between 3 and 5 months before the study start date at a large urban obstetric hospital [8,900 births per year] were used to randomly sample 124 women. Name, address, maternal age, infant sex, gestational age at delivery, delivery method, APGAR score and birth weight were manually extracted from records. Stillbirths and early neonatal deaths were excluded using APGAR scores and hospital records. Women were sent a letter of invitation to participate including option to opt out, followed by a modified PRAMS survey, a reminder letter and a final survey.
The response rate for the pilot was 67%. Two per cent of women refused the survey, 7% opted out of the study and 24% did not respond. Survey items were at least 88% complete for all 82 respondents. Prevalence estimates of socially undesirable behaviours such as alcohol consumption during pregnancy were high [>50%] and comparable with international estimates.
PRAMS is a feasible and valid method of collecting information on maternal experiences and behaviours during pregnancy in Ireland. PRAMS may offer a potential solution to data deficits in maternal health behaviour indicators in Ireland with further work. This study is important to researchers in Europe and elsewhere who may be interested in new ways of tailoring an established CDC methodology to their unique settings to resolve data deficits in maternal health.
Surveillance; Maternal; Pregnancy; Behaviour; Measurement tool
Few women in Uganda access intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). Previous studies have shown that high costs, frequent stock-out of drugs, supplies and poor quality of care are the greatest hindrance for women to access health services. In order to increase adherence to IPTp, we conceptualised an intervention that offset delivery care costs through providing a mama kit, created awareness on health benefits of IPTp and built trust between the provider and the client.
The new strategy was conceived along four constructs namely: 1) creating awareness by training midwives to explain the benefits of SP and the importance of adhering to the two doses of SP as IPTp to all pregnant women who attended ANC and consented to the study. Midwives were trained for two days in customer care and to provide a friendly environment. The pregnant women were also informed of the benefits of attending ANC and delivering at health facilities. 2) Each woman was promised a mama kit during ANC; 3) trust was built by showing the mama kit to each woman and branding it with her name; 4) keeping the promise by providing the mama kit when women came to deliver. The strategy to increase adherence to two doses of SP and encourage women to deliver at health facilities was implemented at two health facilities in Mukono district (Kawolo hospital and Mukono health centre IV). The inclusion criteria were women who: i) consented to the study and ii) were in the second trimester of pregnancy. All pregnant women in the second trimester (4-6 months gestation) who attended ANC and consented to participate in the study were informed of the benefits of SP, the importance of delivering at health facilities, were advised to attend the scheduled visits, promised a mama kit and ensured the kit was available at delivery. The primary outcome was the proportion of pregnant women adhering to a two dose SP regimen.
A total of 2,276 women received the first dose of SP and 1,656 (72.8%) came back for the second dose. 1,069 women were involved in the evaluation (384 had participated in the intervention while 685 had not). The main reasons that enabled those who participated in the intervention to adhere to the two doses of IPTp and deliver at the study facilities were: an explanation provided on the benefits of IPTp and delivering at health facilities (25.1%), availability of a mama kit at delivery (24.6%), kind midwives (19.8%) and fearing complications of pregnancy (8.5%). Overall, 78.0% of these women reported that they were influenced to adhere to IPTp by the intervention. In a multivariable regression, nearby facility, P = 0. 007, promising a mama kit, P = 0.002, kind midwives, P = 0.0001 and husbands’ encouragement, P = 0.0001 were the significant factors influencing adherence to IPTp with SP.
The new strategy was a good incentive for women to attend scheduled ANC visits, adhere to IPTp and deliver at the study facilities. Policy implications include the urgent need for developing a motivation package based on the Health-Trust Model to increase access and adherence to IPTp.
Malaria in pregnancy; IPTp; Adherence; Mama kit; Health-Trust Model; Uganda
There is a need to have uniformed reporting of perinatal mortality for births following assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment to enable international comparison and benchmarking of ART practice.
The Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database was used in this study. Births of ≥ 20 weeks gestation and/or ≥ 400 grams of birth weight following embryos transfer cycles in Australia and New Zealand during the period 2004 to 2008 were included. Differences in the mortality rates by different perinatal periods from a gestational age cutoff of ≥ 20, ≥ 22, ≥ 24, or ≥ 28 weeks (wks) to a neonatal period cutoff of either < 7 or < 28 days after birth were assessed. Crude and specific (number of embryos transferred and plurality) rates of perinatal mortality were calculated for selected gestational and neonatal periods.
When the perinatal period is defined as ≥ 20 wks gestation to < 28 days after birth, the perinatal mortality rate (PMR) was 16.1 per 1000 births (n = 630). A progressive contraction of the gestational age groups resulted in marked reductions in the PMR for deaths at < 28 days (22 wks 11.0; 24 wks 7.7; 28 wks 5.6); and similarly for deaths at < 7 days (20 wks 15.6, 22 wks 10.5; 24 wks 7.3; 28 wks 5.3). In contrast, a contraction of the perinatal period from < 28 to < 7 days after birth only marginally reduced the PMR from 16.2 to 15.6 per 1000 births which was consistent across all gestational ages.
The PMR for single embryo transfer (SET) births (≥ 20 weeks gestation to < 7 days post-birth) was significantly lower (12.8 per 1000 SET births) compared to double embryo transfer (DET) births (PMR 18.3 per 1000 DET births; p < 0.001, Fisher’s Exact Test). Similarly, the PMR for SET births (≥ 22 weeks gestation to < 7 days post-birth) was significantly lower (8.8 per 1000 SET births, p < 0.001, Fisher’s Exact Test) when compared to DET births (12.2 per 1000 DET births). The highest PMR (50.5 per 1000 SET births, 95% CI 36.5-64.5) was for twins following SET births (≥ 20 weeks gestation to < 7 days post-birth) compared to twins following DET (23.9 per 1000 DET births, 95% CI 20.8-27.1).
Reporting of perinatal mortality of ART births is an essential component of quality ART practice. This should include measures that monitor the impact on perinatal mortality of multiple embryo transfer. We recommend that reporting of perinatal deaths following ART treatment, should be stratified for three gestation-specific perinatal periods of ≥ 20, ≥ 22 and ≥ 28 completed weeks to < 7 days post-birth; and include plurality specific rates by SET and DET. This would provide a valuable international evidence-base of PMR for use in evaluating ART policy, practice and new research.
Perinatal mortality; Assisted reproductive technology treatment; Embryo transfer; Stillbirth; Neonatal mortality
Neonatal death accounts for one fifth of all under-five mortality in Uganda. Suboptimal newborn care practices resulting from hypothermia, poor hygiene and delayed initiation of breastfeeding are leading predisposing factors. Evidence suggests focused educational prenatal care messages to mitigate these problems. However, there is a paucity of data on the interaction between the service provider and the prenatal service user. This study aims to understand the scope of educational information and current practices on newborn care from the perspectives of prenatal mothers and health workers.
A qualitative descriptive methodology was used. In-depth interviews were conducted with lactating mothers (n = 31) of babies younger than five months old across Masindi in western Uganda. Additional interviews with health workers (n = 17) and their employers or trainers (n = 5) were conducted to strengthen our findings. Data were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. A thematic content analysis was performed using NVivo 8.
Vertical programmes received more attention than education for newborn care during prenatal sessions. In addition, attitudinal and communication problems existed among health workers thereby largely ignoring the fundamental principles of patient autonomy and patient-centred care. The current newborn care practices were largely influenced by relatives’ cultural beliefs rather than by information provided during prenatal sessions. There is a variation in the training curriculum for health workers deployed to offer recommended prenatal and immediate newborn care in the different tiers of health care.
Findings revealed serious deficiencies in prenatal care organisations in Masindi. Pregnant mothers remain inadequately prepared for childbirth and newborn care, despite their initiative to follow prenatal sessions. These findings call for realignment of prenatal care by integrating education on newborn care practices into routine antenatal care services and be based on principles of patient-centred care.