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1.  Obstetric analgesia for vaginal birth in contemporary obstetrics: a survey of the practice of obstetricians in Nigeria 
Background
Contemporary obstetrics in sub-Saharan Africa is yet to meet the analgesic needs of most women during child birth for a satisfactory birth experience and expectedly, obstetricians have a major role to play in achieving this.
Methods
This was a questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study of 151 obstetricians and gynecologists that attended the 46th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) held in Abakaliki, southeast Nigeria in November, 2012. SOGON is the umbrella body that oversees the obstetric and gynecological practice in Nigeria. Data was collated and analyzed with Epi-info statistical software, and conclusions were drawn by means of simple percentages and inferential statistics using Odds Ratio, with P-value < 0.05 at 95% Confidence Interval (CI) taken to be statistically significant.
Results
Of the 151 participants, males predominated; 110 (72.9%) practiced in government-owned tertiary hospitals in urban locations. Only 74 (49%) offered obstetric analgesia. Among users, only 20 (13.3%) offered obstetric analgesia routinely to parturients, 44 (29.1%) sometimes and 10 (6.6%) on patients’ requests. The commonest analgesia was opioids (41.1%). Among non-users, the commonest reasons adduced were fear of respiratory distress (31.1%), cost (24.7%) and late presentation in labour (15.6%).
Conclusion
The routine prescription and utilization of obstetric analgesia by obstetricians in Nigeria is still low. Obstetricians are encouraged to step up its use to make childbirth a more fulfilling experience for parturients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-140
PMCID: PMC3984631
Analgesia; Obstetrics; Practice; Contemporary; Pain
2.  Rate of spontaneous onset of labour before planned repeat caesarean section at term 
Background
Guidelines recommend that, in the absence of compelling medical indications (low risk) elective caesarean section should occur after 38 completed weeks gestation. However, implementation of these guidelines will mean some women go into labour before the planned date resulting in an intrapartum caesarean section. The aim of this study was to determine the rate at which low-risk women planned for repeat caesarean section go into spontaneous labour before 39 weeks.
Methods
We conducted a population-based cohort study of women who were planned to have an elective repeat caesarean section (ERCS) at 39-41 weeks gestation in New South Wales Australia, 2007-2010. Labour, delivery and health outcome information was obtained from linked birth and hospital records for the entire population. Women with no pre-existing medical or pregnancy complications were categorized as ‘low risk’. The rate of spontaneous labour before 39 weeks was determined and variation in the rate for subgroups of women was examined using univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results
Of 32,934 women who had ERCS as the reported indication for caesarean section, 17,314 (52.6%) were categorised as ‘low-risk’. Of these women, 1,473 (8.5% or 1 in 12) had spontaneous labour or prelabour rupture of the membranes before 39 weeks resulting in an intrapartum caesarean section. However the risk of labour <39 weeks varied depending on previous delivery history: 25% (1 in 4) for those with spontaneous preterm labour in a prior pregnancy; 15% (1 in 7) for women with a prior planned preterm birth (by labour induction or prelabour caesarean) and 6% (1 in 17) among those who had only previously had a planned caesarean section at term. Smoking in pregnancy was also associated with spontaneous labour. Women with spontaneous labour prior to a planned CS in the index pregnancy were at increased risk of out-of-hours delivery, and maternal and neonatal morbidity.
Conclusions
These findings allow clinicians to more accurately determine the likelihood that a planned caesarean section may become an intrapartum caesarean section, and to advise their patients accordingly.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-125
PMCID: PMC3975468  PMID: 24694261
Cohort study; Elective repeat caesarean section; Labour; Record linkage
3.  Qualitative assessment of attitudes and knowledge on preterm birth in Malawi and within country framework of care 
Background
The overarching goal of this study was to qualitatively assess baseline knowledge and perceptions regarding preterm birth (PTB) and oral health in an at-risk, low resource setting surrounding Lilongwe, Malawi. The aims were to determine what is understood regarding normal length of gestation and how gestational age is estimated, to identify common language for preterm birth, and to assess what is understood as options for PTB management. As prior qualitative research had largely focused on patient or client-based focused groups, we primarily focused on groups comprised of community health workers (CHWs) and providers.
Methods
A qualitative study using focus-group discussions, incidence narrative, and informant interviews amongst voluntary participants. Six focus groups were comprised of CHWs, patient couples, midwives, and clinical officers (n = 33) at two rural health centers referring to Kamuzu Central Hospital. Semi-structured questions facilitated discussion of PTB and oral health (inclusive of periodontal disease), including definitions, perception, causation, management, and accepted interventions.
Results
Every participant knew of women who had experienced “a baby born too soon”, or preterm birth. All participants recognized both an etiology conceptualization and disease framework for preterm birth, distinguished PTB from miscarriage and macerated stillbirth, and articulated a willingness to engage in studies aimed at prevention or management. Identified gaps included: (1) discordance in the definition of PTB (i.e., 28–34 weeks or less than the 8th month, but with a corresponding fetal weight ranging 500 to 2300 grams); (2) utility and regional availability of antenatal steroids for prevention of preterm infant morbidity and mortality; (3) need for antenatal referral for at-risk women, or with symptoms of preterm birth. There was no evident preference for route of progesterone for the prevention of recurrent PTB.
Conclusions
Qualitative research was useful in (1) identifying gaps in knowledge in urban and rural Malawi, and (2) informing the development of educational materials and implementation of programs or trials ultimately aimed at reducing PTB. As a result of this qualitative work, implementation planning was focused on the gaps in knowledge, dissemination of knowledge (to both patients and providers), and practical solutions to barriers in known efficacious therapies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-123
PMCID: PMC3975452  PMID: 24690288
Preterm birth; Qualitative research; Global women’s health; Pregnancy; Periodontal disease
4.  Healthy living in pregnancy: a cluster-randomized controlled trial to prevent excessive gestational weight gain - rationale and design of the GeliS study 
Background
Recent studies suggest that excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) leads to adverse maternal and fetal outcomes including weight retention in the mother and an increased risk of childhood obesity in the offspring.
The aim of the GeliS study is to examine the effect of a lifestyle intervention programme during pregnancy to avoid excessive GWG and, hence, to reduce pregnancy and obstetric complications as well as the risk of maternal and offspring obesity.
Methods and design
The GeliS study is a multicentre cluster-randomized controlled trial. A total number of 2500 pregnant women (singleton pregnancy) with a pre-pregnancy BMI ≥ 18.5 kg/m2 and ≤ 40 kg/m2 will be recruited in practices of gynaecologists and midwives in ten Bavarian regions. The intervention comprises three structured and individualised counselling sessions on a healthy diet, regular physical activity as well as weight monitoring during pregnancy and one session after delivery, respectively. The counselling sessions are attached to routine pre- and postnatal visits using standardised materials and procedures. In the control regions, general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle are given. An oral glucose tolerance test is offered to all participants.
The primary outcome is the proportion of participants with excessive GWG. Secondary outcomes include pregnancy and obstetric complications such as frequency of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and caesarean sections as well as weight retention in the mothers and BMI and other health variables in the offspring. A 5-year follow-up of both mothers and their infants is planned.
Discussion
The GeliS lifestyle intervention programme has been adapted to the existing routine health care system for pregnant women. If shown to be effective, it could be immediately implemented in routine care.
Trial registration
The study protocol is registered at the ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration System (NCT01958307).
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-119
PMCID: PMC3973835  PMID: 24678761
Lifestyle intervention; Gestational weight gain (GWG); Diet; Exercise; Gestational diabetes; Weight retention; Childhood obesity; Obesity prevention; Pregnancy
5.  Estudio Parto: postpartum diabetes prevention program for hispanic women with abnormal glucose tolerance in pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial – study protocol 
Background
Diabetes and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. with rates consistently higher among Hispanics as compared to non-Hispanic whites. Among Hispanic women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), 50% will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years of the index pregnancy. Although randomised controlled trials among adults with impaired glucose tolerance have shown that diet and physical activity reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, such programs have not been tested in high-risk postpartum women. The overall goal of this randomised controlled trial is to test the efficacy of a culturally and linguistically modified, individually-tailored lifestyle intervention to reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among postpartum Hispanic women with a history of abnormal glucose tolerance during pregnancy.
Methods/Design
Hispanic pregnant women who screen positive for GDM will be recruited and randomly assigned to a Lifestyle Intervention (n = 150) or a Health & Wellness (control) Intervention (n = 150). Multimodal contacts (i.e., in-person, telephone, and mailed materials) will be used to deliver the intervention from late pregnancy (29 weeks gestation) to 12 months postpartum. Targets of the intervention are to achieve Institute of Medicine Guidelines for postpartum weight loss; American Congress of Obstetrician and Gynecologist guidelines for physical activity; and American Diabetes Association guidelines for diet. The intervention draws from Social Cognitive Theory and the Transtheoretical Model and addresses the specific cultural and environmental challenges faced by low-income Hispanic women. Assessments will be conducted at enrollment, and at 6-weeks, 6-months, and 12-months postpartum by trained bicultural and bilingual personnel blinded to the intervention arm. Efficacy will be assessed via postpartum weight loss and biomarkers of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk. Changes in physical activity and diet will be measured via 7-day actigraph data and three unannounced 24-hour dietary recalls at each assessment time period.
Discussion
Hispanic women are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. and have the highest rates of sedentary behavior and postpartum diabetes after a diagnosis of GDM. This randomised trial uses a high-reach, low-cost strategy that can readily be translated into clinical practice in underserved and minority populations.
Trial registration
NCT01679210
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-100
PMCID: PMC3975296  PMID: 24606590
Lifestyle intervention; Randomised controlled trial; Healthy eating; Prevention; Diet; Latina; Physical activity; Postpartum; Pregnancy; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Transtheoretical model
6.  Carotid artery elasticity decreases during pregnancy - the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study 
Background
The aims were to evaluate the effect of pregnancy on carotid artery elasticity and determine the associations between maternal lipids, endothelial function and arterial elasticity during pregnancy.
Methods
We examined 99 pregnant and 99 matched non-pregnant control women as part of a population-based prospective cohort study. Carotid artery elasticity indexes; carotid artery distensibility (CAD), Young’s elastic modulus (YEM) and stiffness index (SI) as well as brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were assessed using ultrasound; serum lipid levels were also determined.
Results
SI was 57% and YEM 75% higher and CAD 36% lower in the third trimester group than the corresponding values in the first trimester group. Serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels were significantly higher in women at the end of the pregnancy than at the beginning of pregnancy (P < 0.001) and in controls (P < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, gestational age was the only independent correlate of arterial elasticity in pregnant women. In controls, age (P ≤ 0.001) and common carotid diameter (P = 0.001-0.029) were associated with SI, YEM and CAD.
Conclusions
The present study revealed that carotid artery elasticity declined towards the end of the pregnancy; this neither is straight correlating with maternal hyperlipidemia or the diameter of the carotid artery nor is it associated with changes in endothelial function.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-98
PMCID: PMC3975714  PMID: 24602149
Carotid artery; Elasticity; Pregnancy; Distensibility; Arterial stiffness; The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study
7.  Drinking before and after pregnancy recognition among South African women: the moderating role of traumatic experiences 
Background
South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and interpersonal trauma. These co-occurring public health problems raise the need to understand alcohol consumption among trauma-exposed pregnant women in this setting. Since a known predictor of drinking during pregnancy is drinking behavior before pregnancy, this study explored the relationship between women’s drinking levels before and after pregnancy recognition, and whether traumatic experiences – childhood abuse or recent intimate partner violence (IPV) – moderated this relationship.
Methods
Women with incident pregnancies (N = 66) were identified from a longitudinal cohort of 560 female drinkers in a township of Cape Town, South Africa. Participants were included if they reported no pregnancy at one assessment and then reported pregnancy four months later at the next assessment. Alcohol use was measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and traumatic experiences of childhood abuse and recent IPV were also assessed. Hierarchical linear regressions controlling for race and age examined childhood abuse and recent IPV as moderators of the effect of pre-pregnancy recognition drinking on post-pregnancy recognition AUDIT scores.
Results
Following pregnancy recognition, 73% of women reported drinking at hazardous levels (AUDIT ≥ 8). Sixty-four percent reported early and/or recent exposure to trauma. While drinking levels before pregnancy significantly predicted drinking levels after pregnancy recognition, t(64) = 3.50, p < .01, this relationship was moderated by experiences of childhood abuse, B = -.577, t(60) = -2.58, p = .01, and recent IPV, B = -.477, t(60) = -2.16, p = .04. Pregnant women without traumatic experiences reported drinking at levels consistent with levels before pregnancy recognition. However, women with traumatic experiences tended to report elevated AUDIT scores following pregnancy recognition, even if low-risk drinkers previously.
Conclusion
This study explored how female drinkers in South Africa may differentially modulate their drinking patterns upon pregnancy recognition, depending on trauma history. Our results suggest that women with traumatic experiences are more likely to exhibit risky alcohol consumption when they become pregnant, regardless of prior risk. These findings illuminate the relevance of trauma-informed efforts to reduce FASD in South Africa.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-97
PMCID: PMC3975846  PMID: 24593175
South Africa; Pregnancy; Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; Drinking; Trauma; Childhood abuse; Intimate partner violence
8.  Magnitude of income-related disparities in adverse perinatal outcomes 
Background
To assess and compare multiple measurements of socioeconomic position (SEP) in order to determine the relationship with adverse perinatal outcomes across various contexts.
Methods
A birth registry, the Nova Scotia Atlee Perinatal Database, was confidentially linked to income tax and related information for the year in which delivery occurred. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine odds ratios between multiple indicators of SEP and multiple adverse perinatal outcomes in 117734 singleton births between 1988 and 2003. Models for after tax family income were also adjusted for neighborhood deprivation to gauge the relative magnitude of effects related to SEP at both levels. Effects of SEP were stratified by single- versus multiple-parent family composition, and by urban versus rural location of residence.
Results
The risk of small for gestational age and spontaneous preterm birth was higher across all the indicators of lower SEP, while risk for large for gestational age was lower across indicators of lower SEP. Higher risk of postneonatal death was demonstrated for several measures of lower SEP. Higher material deprivation in the neighborhood of residence was associated with increased risk for perinatal death, small for gestational age birth, and iatrogenic and spontaneous preterm birth. Family composition and urbanicity were shown to modify the association between income and some perinatal outcomes.
Conclusions
This study highlights the importance of understanding the definitions of SEP and the mechanisms that lead to the association between income and poor perinatal outcomes, and broadening the types of SEP measures used in some cases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-96
PMCID: PMC3984719  PMID: 24589212
Perinatal; Socioeconomic position; Health inequalities; Neighborhood; Income
9.  Factors associated with the use and quality of antenatal care in Nepal: a population-based study using the demographic and health survey data 
Background
Good quality antenatal care (ANC) reduces maternal and neonatal mortality and improves health outcomes, particularly in low-income countries. Quality of ANC is measured by three dimensions: number of visits, timing of initiation of care and inclusion of all recommended components of care. Although some studies report on predictors of the first two indicators, no studies on the third indicator, which measures quality of ANC received, have been conducted in Nepal. Nepal follows the World Health Organization’s recommendations of initiation of ANC within the first four months of pregnancy and at least four ANC visits during the course of an uncomplicated pregnancy. This study aimed to identify factors associated with 1) attendance at four or more ANC visits and 2) receipt of good quality ANC.
Methods
Data from Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2011 were analysed for 4,079 mothers. Good quality ANC was defined as that which included all seven recommended components: blood pressure measurement; urine tests for detecting bacteriuria and proteinuria; blood tests for syphilis and anaemia; and provision of iron supplementation, intestinal parasite drugs, tetanus toxoid injections and health education.
Results
Half the women had four or more ANC visits and 85% had at least one visit. Health education, iron supplementation, blood pressure measurement and tetanus toxoid were the more commonly received components of ANC. Older age, higher parity, and higher levels of education and household economic status of the women were predictors of both attendance at four or more visits and receipt of good quality ANC. Women who did not smoke, had a say in decision-making, whose husbands had higher levels of education and were involved in occupations other than agriculture were more likely to attend four or more visits. Other predictors of women’s receipt of good quality ANC were receiving their ANC from a skilled provider, in a hospital, living in an urban area and being exposed to general media.
Conclusions
Continued efforts at improving access to quality ANC in Nepal are required. In the short term, less educated women from socioeconomically disadvantaged households require targeting. Long-term improvements require a focus on improving female education.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-94
PMCID: PMC3943993  PMID: 24589139
Prenatal care; Antenatal care; Prepartum care; Demographic and health survey; South Asia; Quantity of antenatal care; Timing of antenatal care
10.  Nifedipine versus atosiban in the treatment of threatened preterm labour (Assessment of Perinatal Outcome after Specific Tocolysis in Early Labour: APOSTEL III-Trial) 
Background
Preterm birth is the most common cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Postponing delivery for 48 hours with tocolytics to allow for maternal steroid administration and antenatal transportation to a centre with neonatal intensive care unit facilities is the standard treatment for women with threatening preterm delivery in most centres. However, there is controversy as to which tocolytic agent is the drug of first choice. Previous trials have focused on tocolytic efficacy and side effects, and are probably underpowered to detect clinically meaningfull differences in neonatal outcome. Thus, the current evidence is inconclusive to support a balanced recommendation for clinical practice. This multicenter randomised clinical trial aims to compare nifedipine and atosiban in terms of neonatal outcome, duration of pregnancy and maternal side effects.
Methods/Design
The Apostel III trial is a nationwide multicenter randomised controlled study. Women with threatened preterm labour (gestational age 25 – 34 weeks) defined as at least 3 contractions per 30 minutes, and 1) a cervical length of ≤ 10 mm or 2) a cervical length of 11-30 mm and a positive Fibronectin test or 3) ruptured membranes will be randomly allocated to treatment with nifedipine or atosiban. Primary outcome is a composite measure of severe neonatal morbidity and mortality. Secondary outcomes will be time to delivery, gestational age at delivery, days on ventilation support, neonatal intensive care (NICU) admittance, length admission in neonatal intensive care, total days in hospital until 3 months corrected age, convulsions, apnoea, asphyxia, proven meningitis, pneumothorax, maternal side effects and costs. Furthermore, an economic evaluation of the treatment will be performed. Analysis will be by intention to treat principle. The power calculation is based on an expected 10% difference in the prevalence of adverse neonatal outcome. This implies that 500 women have to be randomised (two sided test, β 0.2 at alpha 0.05).
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence on the optimal drug of choice in acute tocolysis in threatening preterm labour.
Trial registration
Clinical trial registration: NTR2947, date of registration: June 20th 2011.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-93
PMCID: PMC3944539  PMID: 24589124
Preterm birth; Tocolytics; Nifedipine; Atosiban; Outcome; Drug safety
11.  Sero-positivity rate of rubella and associated factors among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Mwanza, Tanzania 
Background
Sero-positivity rates of the rubella virus among pregnant women vary widely throughout the world. In Tanzania, rubella vaccination is not included in the national immunization schedule and there is therefore no antenatal screening for this viral disease. So far, there are no reports on the sero-prevalence of rubella among pregnant women in Tanzania. As a result, this study was undertaken to establish the sero-positivity rate of rubella and rubella risk factors among pregnant women attending antenatal care clinics in Mwanza, Tanzania.
Methods
From November 2012 to May 2013 a total of 350 pregnant women were enrolled and their serum samples collected and analyzed using the AXSYM anti-rubella virus IgG/IgM-MEIA test. Demographic and clinical data were collected using a standardized data collection tool. Data analysis was done using STATA version 12.
Results
Of 342 pregnant women tested for rubella antibodies, 317 (92.6%) were positive for anti-rubella IgG while only 1 (0.3%) was positive for IgM. Higher sero-positivity rates were found in the age group of 25–44 years. Furthermore, it was observed that with each year increase in age, the risk of contracting rubella increases by 12% (OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.02-1.22, P = 0.019). Women involved in farming and business women were at a higher risk of contracting rubella infection compared to formally employed women (OR: 4.9, P = 0.011; OR 7.1, p = 0.003 respectively). In univariate analysis, the risk of contracting rubella virus infection was found to increase with gestational age with a statistical significance.
Conclusions
Sero-positivity rates of rubella are high in Mwanza and are significantly associated with an increase in age and being a farmer or a business woman. Screening of rubella and immunization of women at risk are highly recommended in this area with a high non-immune rate against rubella virus.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-95
PMCID: PMC3975942  PMID: 24589180
Prevalence; Rubella; Pregnancy; Mwanza; Tanzania
12.  Cesarean section in a high-parity community in Saudi Arabia: clinical indications and obstetric outcomes 
Background
The study of the indications for cesarean section (CS) and its outcomes are useful for hospitals, clinicians, and researchers in determining strategies to lower the primary and repeat CS rate. The aim of this study was to identify the indications for CS and the incidence of adverse maternal/fetal outcomes in a tertiary care setting.
Methods
A retrospective cohort study of women (n = 4305) who gave birth by CS at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (June 2008 to February 2011), was performed. All of the women’s medical records were reviewed by two consulting physicians to obtain the primary indications for CS and determine the maternal characteristics, type of CS (emergency or elective), and birth weight. All adverse maternal and fetal outcomes were recorded. The point and interval estimates of the odds ratios were calculated using a logistic regression model to identify the significant predictors of adverse maternal and/or fetal outcomes.
Results
Of a total of 22,595 deliveries from 2008 to 2011, 4,305 deliveries were CS deliveries (19.05%). Two-thirds (67%) of all CS deliveries were emergency CSs, and the remaining deliveries were elective CSs (33%). Difficult labor (35.9%), fetal distress (21.9%) and breech presentation (11.6%) were the most frequent indications of emergency CS, while previous CS (54.3%), breech presentation (20.4%) and maternal request (10.1%) ranked first for elective CS. Adverse maternal and fetal outcomes were diagnosed in 5.09% and 5.06% of deliveries, respectively, with a significantly higher incidence in the emergency (6.06% & 5.51% respectively) than in elective CS (3.10 & 4.16% respectively). Blood transfusion was the most frequent adverse maternal outcome (3.72%), followed by ICU admission (0.63%), HELLP (0.51%), and hysterectomy (0.30%), while IUGR (3.25%) was the most frequent adverse fetal outcome, followed by IUFD and the need for ICU admission (0.58% each). Adverse maternal outcomes were significantly predicted by high gravidity (OR = 2.84, 95% CI:1.26-6.39, p = 0.011) and preeclampsia (OR = 2.84, 95%CI:1.83-4.39, p < 0.001), while adverse fetal outcomes were predicted by: twinning (OR = 1.81, p = 0.002), hydramnios (OR = 6.70, p < 0.001), and preeclampsia (OR = 2.74, p < 0.001). Preterm delivery was a significant predictor for both adverse maternal and fetal outcomes (OR = 2.39, p < 0.001 & OR = 4.57, p < 0.001, respectively).
Conclusions
Difficult labor and previous CS were the main indications for CS in Saudi Arabia. High gravidity was a significant predictor of adverse maternal outcomes. Encouraging Saudi women to consider embarking on fewer pregnancies could act as a safeguard against mandatory CSs for subsequent births in multigravida and grand-multigravida Saudi females. Future prospective study that addresses women with repeat CSs and their association with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes is recommended.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-92
PMCID: PMC3941573  PMID: 24575731
Cesarean section; Indications; Maternal/fetal; Outcomes; Near miss; Saudi Arabia
13.  Exploring the first delay: a qualitative study of home deliveries in Makwanpur district Nepal 
Background
In many low-income countries women tend to deliver at home, and delays in receiving appropriate maternal care can be fatal. A contextual understanding of these delays is important if countries are to meet development targets for maternal health. We present qualitative research with women who delivered at home in rural Nepal, to gain a contemporary understanding of the context where we are testing the effectiveness of an intervention to increase institutional deliveries.
Methods
We purposively sampled women who had recently delivered at home and interviewed them to explore their reasons for home delivery. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic content analysis. We used the ‘delays’ model discussed in the literature to frame our analysis.
Results
Usually a combination of factors prevented women from delivering in health institutions. Many women were aware of the benefits of institutional delivery yet their status in the home restricted their access to health facilities. Often they did not wish to bring shame on their family by going against their wishes, or through showing their body in a health institution. They often felt unable to demand the organisation of transportation because this may cause financial problems for their family. Some felt that government incentives were insufficient. Often, a lack of family support at the time of delivery meant that women delivered at home. Past bad experience, and poor quality health services, also prevented women from having an institutional delivery.
Conclusions
Formative research is important to develop an understanding of local context. Sociocultural issues, perceived accessibility of health services, and perceived quality of care were all important barriers preventing institutional delivery. Targeting one factor alone may not be effective in increasing institutional deliveries. Our intervention encourages communities to develop local responses to address the factors preventing institutional delivery through women’s groups and improved health facility management. We will monitor perceptions of health services over time to help us understand the effectiveness of the intervention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-89
PMCID: PMC3939637  PMID: 24576187
Formative; Context; Maternal; Newborn; Delay
14.  Factors associated with severe maternal morbidity and near miss in the São Francisco Valley, Brazil: a retrospective, cohort study 
Background
Maternal mortality remains a major public health issue worldwide, with persistent high rates prevailing principally in underdeveloped countries. The objective of this study was to determine the risk factors for severe maternal morbidity and near miss (SMM/NM) in pregnant and postpartum women at the maternity ward of the Dom Malan Hospital, Petrolina, in northeastern Brazil.
Methods
A retrospective, cohort study was conducted to evaluate the sociodemographic and obstetric characteristics of the women. Patients who remained hospitalized at the end of the study period were excluded. Risk ratios (RR) and their respective 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated as a measure of relative risk. Hierarchical multiple logistic regression was also performed. Two-tailed p-values were used for all the tests and the significance level adopted was 5%.
Results
A total of 2,291 pregnant or postpartum women receiving care between May and August, 2011 were included. The frequencies of severe maternal morbidity and near miss were 17.5% and 1.0%, respectively. Following multivariate analysis, the factors that remained significantly associated with an increased risk of SMM/NM were a Cesarean section in the current pregnancy (OR: 2.6; 95% CI: 2.0 – 3.3), clinical comorbidities (OR: 3.4; 95% CI: 2.5 – 4.4), having attended fewer than six prenatal visits (OR: 1.1; 95% CI: 1.01 – 1.69) and the presence of the third delay (i.e. delay in receiving care at the health facility) (OR: 13.3; 95% CI: 6.7 – 26.4).
Conclusions
The risk of SMM/NM was greater in women who had been submitted to a Cesarean section in the current pregnancy, in the presence of clinical comorbidities, fewer prenatal visits and when the third delay was present. All these factors could be minimized by initiating a broad debate on healthcare policies, introducing preventive measures and improving the training of the professionals and services providing obstetric care.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-91
PMCID: PMC3943583  PMID: 24576223
Maternal mortality; Morbidity; Prenatal; Risk factors; Cohort studies
15.  The role of support and other factors in early breastfeeding cessation: an analysis of data from a maternity survey in England 
Background
Although the majority of women in England initiate breastfeeding, approximately one third cease breastfeeding by six weeks and many of these women report they would like to have breastfed for longer.
Methods
Data from a survey of women ≥16 years who gave birth to singleton term infants in 2009 in England; questionnaires were completed approximately three months postnatally. Logistic regression was used to investigate the association between postnatal support and other factors, and breastfeeding cessation at 10 days and six weeks. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) were calculated to estimate the relative contribution of breastfeeding support factors to overall breastfeeding cessation at these two time points.
Results
Of the 3840 women who initiated breastfeeding and reported timing of breastfeeding cessation, 13% had stopped by 10 days; and of the 3354 women who were breastfeeding at 10 days, 17% had stopped by six weeks. Socio-demographic factors (maternal age, ethnicity, country of birth, deprivation, education) and antenatal feeding intention were all independently associated with breastfeeding cessation at 10 days and six weeks. Women who did not receive feeding advice or support from a parent or peer support group, voluntary organisation, or breastfeeding clinic were more likely to stop breastfeeding by 10 days. Perceived active support and encouragement from midwives was associated with a lower odds of breastfeeding cessation at both 10 days and six weeks. Estimated PAFs suggest that 34-59% of breastfeeding cessations by 10 days could be avoided if more women in the study population received breastfeeding support.
Conclusion
Although multiple factors influence a mother’s likelihood of continuing breastfeeding, it is clear that socio-demographic factors are strongly associated with breastfeeding continuation. However, there is evidence that breastfeeding support, including that delivered by peer or lay support workers, may have an important role in preventing cessations in the first few weeks.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-88
PMCID: PMC3939405  PMID: 24571566
Breastfeeding; Epidemiology; Public health; Socio-economic
16.  Routine administration of Anti-D: the ethical case for offering pregnant women fetal RHD genotyping and a review of policy and practice 
Background
Since its introduction in the 1960s Anti-D immunoglobulin (Anti-D Ig) has been highly successful in reducing the incidence of haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN) and achieving improvements to maternal and fetal health. It has protected women from other invasive interventions during pregnancy and prevented deaths and damage amongst newborns and is a technology which has been adopted worldwide. Currently about one third of pregnant women with the blood group Rhesus D (RhD) negative in the UK (approximately 40,000 women per year in England and Wales), receive antenatal Anti-D Ig in pregnancy when they do not require it because they are carrying a RhD negative fetus. Since 1997, a test using cell free fetal DNA (cffDNA) in maternal blood has been developed to identify the genotype of the fetus and can be used to predict the fetal RhD blood group.
Discussion
This paper considers whether it is ethically acceptable to continue administering antenatal Anti-D Ig to all RhD negative women when fetal RHD genotyping using maternal blood could identify those women who do not need this product.
Summary
The antenatal administration of Anti-D Ig to a third of RhD negative pregnant women who carry a RhD negative fetus and therefore do not need it raises important ethical issues. If fetal RHD genotyping using maternal blood was offered to all RhD negative pregnant women it would assist them to make an informed choice about whether or not to have antenatal Anti-D Ig.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-87
PMCID: PMC3944436  PMID: 24568571
Anti-D immunoglobulin; Fetal RHD genotyping; RhD blood group; Ethics; Informed consent
17.  Satisfaction with life during pregnancy and early motherhood in first-time mothers of advanced age: a population-based longitudinal study 
Background
The trend to delay motherhood to the age of 30 and beyond is established in most high-income countries but relatively little is known about potential effects on maternal emotional well-being. This study investigates satisfaction with life during pregnancy and the first three years of motherhood in women expecting their first baby at an advanced and very advanced age.
Methods
The study was based on the National Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Data on 18 565 nulliparous women recruited in the second trimester 1999–2008 were used. Four questionnaires were completed: at around gestational weeks 17 and 30, and at six months and three years after the birth. Medical data were retrieved from the national Medical Birth Register. Advanced age was defined as 32–37 years, very advanced age as ≥38 years and the reference group as 25–31 years. The distribution of satisfaction with life from age 25 to ≥40 years was investigated, and the mean satisfaction with life at the four time points was estimated. Logistic regression analyses based on generalised estimation equations were used to investigate associations between advanced and very advanced age and satisfaction with life when controlling for socio-demographic factors.
Results
Satisfaction with life decreased from around age 28 to age 40 and beyond, when measured in gestational weeks 17 and 30, and at six months and three years after the birth. When comparing women of advanced and very advanced age with the reference group, satisfaction with life was slightly reduced in the two older age groups and most of all in women of very advanced age. Women of very advanced age had the lowest scores at all time points and this was most pronounced at three years after the birth.
Conclusion
First-time mothers of advanced and very advanced age reported a slightly lower degree of satisfaction with life compared with the reference group of younger women, and the age-related effect was greatest when the child was three years of age.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-86
PMCID: PMC3975966  PMID: 24564871
Maternal age; Postponement of childbirth; Satisfaction with life; Primiparous
18.  Efficacy of prenatal ultrasonography in diagnosing urogenital developmental anomalies in newborns 
Background
Showing a prevalence rate of 0.5-0.8%, urogenital malformations discovered in newborns is regarded relatively common. The aim of this study is to examine the efficacy of ultrasound diagnostics in detecting developmental disorders in the urogenital system.
Methods
We have processed the prenatal sonographic and postnatal clinical details of 175 urogenital abnormalities in 140 newborns delivered with urogenital malformation according to EUROCAT recommendations over a 5-year period between 2006 and 2010. The patients were divided into three groups; Group 1: prenatal sonography and postnatal examinations yielded fully identical results. Group 2: postnatally detected urogenital changes were partially discovered in prenatal investigations. Group 3: prenatal sonography failed to detect the urogenital malformation identified in postnatal examinations. Urogenital changes representing part of certain multiple disorders associated with chromosomal aberration were investigated separately.
Results
Prenatal sonographic diagnosis and postnatal results completely coincided in 45%, i.e. 63/140 of cases in newborns delivered with urogenital developmental disorders. In 34/140 cases (24%), discovery was partial, while in 43/140 patients (31%), no urogenital malformation was detected prenatally. No associated malformations were observed in 108 cases, in 57 of which (53%), the results of prenatal ultrasonography and postnatal examinations showed complete coincidence. Prenatally, urogenital changes were found in 11 patients (10%), whereas no urogenital disorders were diagnosed in 40 cases (37%) by investigations prior to birth. Urogenital disorders were found to represent part of multiple malformations in a total of 28 cases as follows: prenatal diagnosis of urogenital malformation and the findings of postnatal examinations completely coincided in three patients (11%), partial coincidence was found in 22 newborns (79%) and in another three patients (11%), the disorder was not detected prenatally. In four newborns, chromosomal aberration was associated with the urogenital disorder; 45,X karyotype was detected in two patients, trisomy 9 and trisomy 18 were found in one case each.
Conclusion
In approximately half of the cases, postnatally diagnosed abnormalities coincided with the prenatally discovered fetal urogenital developmental disorders. The results have confirmed that ultrasonography plays an important role in diagnosing urogenital malformations but it fails to detect all of the urogenital developmental abnormalities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-82
PMCID: PMC3936834  PMID: 24564681
Urogenital developmental disorders; Prenatal sonographic diagnosis; Efficacy of ultrasound
19.  The Mother-Newborn Skin-to-Skin Contact Questionnaire (MSSCQ): development and psychometric evaluation among Iranian midwives 
Background
Despite the benefits of mother-newborn skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, it has not been universally implemented as routine care for healthy term neonates. Midwifes are the first person to contact the neonate after birth. However, there is evidence that many midwives do not perform mother-newborn skin-to-skin contact. The aim of this study was to develop and psychometrically evaluate an instrument for measuring factors associated with mother-newborn skin-to-skin contact (MSSCQ) based on the PRECEDE-PROCEED model.
Methods
This was a two-phase qualitative and quantitative study. It was conducted during 2010 to 2012 in Tehran, Iran. In the qualitative part, 150 midwives working in labor room participated in 19 focus group discussions in order to generate a preliminary item pool. Then, content and face validity were performed to provide a pre-final version of the questionnaire. In the quantitative phase, reliability (internal consistency and test-retest analysis), validity and factor analysis (both exploratory and confirmatory) were performed to assess psychometric properties of the instrument.
Results
A 120-item questionnaire was developed through the qualitative phase. It was reduced to an 83-item after content validity. The exploratory factor analysis loaded fifteen-factors and three constructs (predisposing, enabling and reinforcing) containing 82 items (38, 18, and 26 statements, respectively) that jointly accounted for 60.61% of observed variance. The Confirmatory factors analysis determined a model with appropriate fitness for the data. The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient showed excellent internal consistency (alpha = 0.92), and test-retest of the scale with 2-week intervals indicated an appropriate stability for the MSSCQ (ICC = 0.94).
Conclusion
The Mother-Newborn Skin-to-Skin Contact Questionnaire (MSSCQ) is a reliable and valid theory-based measurement and now can be used in clinical practice, midwifery and nursing studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-85
PMCID: PMC3937427  PMID: 24564830
20.  The Public’s views of mental health in pregnant and postpartum women: a population-based study 
Background
We used population-based data to determine the public’s views of prenatal and postnatal mental health and to identify predictors of those views.
Methods
A computer-assisted telephone survey was conducted by the Population Health Laboratory (University of Alberta) with a random sample of participants from the province of Alberta, Canada. Respondents were eligible to participate if they were: 1) ≥18 years; and 2) contacted by direct dialing. Questions were drawn from the Perinatal Depression Monitor, an Australian population-based survey on perinatal mental health; additional questions were developed and tested to reflect the Canadian context. Descriptive and multivariable regression analyses were conducted.
Results
Among the 1207 respondents, 74.7% had post-secondary education, 16.3% were in childbearing years, and over half (57.4%) reported knowing a woman who had experienced postpartum depression. Significantly more respondents had high levels of knowledge of postnatal (87.4%) than prenatal (70.5%) mental health (p < .01). Only 26.6% of respondents accurately identified that prenatal anxiety/depression could negatively impact child development. Personal knowledge of a woman with postpartum depression was a significant predictor of prenatal and postnatal mental health knowledge.
Conclusions
While the public’s knowledge of postnatal mental health is high, knowledge regarding prenatal mental health and its influence on child development is limited. Strategies for improving perinatal mental health literacy should target these knowledge deficits.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-84
PMCID: PMC3941946  PMID: 24564783
Pregnancy; Postpartum; Mental health; Public views; Depression; Anxiety
21.  Maternal positioning to correct occipito-posterior fetal position in labour: a randomised controlled trial 
Background
The occipito-posterior (OP) fetal head position during the first stage of labour occurs in 10-34% of cephalic presentations. Most will spontaneous rotate in anterior position before delivery, but 5-8% of all births will persist in OP position for the third stage of labour. Previous observations have shown that this can lead to an increase of complications, such as an abnormally long labour, maternal and fetal exhaustion, instrumental delivery, severe perineal tears, and emergency caesarean section. Usual care in the case of diagnosis of OP position is an expectant management. However, maternal postural techniques have been reported to promote the anterior position of the fetal head for delivery. A Cochrane review reported that these maternal positions are well accepted by women and reduce back pain. However, the low sample size of included studies did not allow concluding on their efficacy on delivery outcomes, particularly those related to persistent OP position. Our objective is to evaluate the efficacy of maternal position in the management of OP position during the first stage of labour.
Methods/design
A randomised clinical trial is ongoing in the maternity unit of the Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland. The unit is the largest in Switzerland with 4,000 births/year. The trial will involve 438 women with a fetus in OP position, confirmed by sonography, during the first stage of the labour. The main outcome measure is the position of the fetal head, diagnosed by ultrasound one hour after randomisation.
Discussion
It is important to evaluate the efficacy of maternal position to correct fetal OP position during the first stage of the labour. Although these positions seem to be well accepted by women and appear easy to implement in the delivery room, the sample size of the last randomised clinical trial published in 2005 to evaluate this intervention had insufficient power to demonstrate clear evidence of effectiveness. If the technique demonstrates efficacy, it would reduce the physical and psychological consequences of complications at birth related to persistent OP position.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov, http://www.clinicaltrials.gov: (no. NCT01291355).
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-83
PMCID: PMC3942064  PMID: 24564746
Fetal head position; Occipito-posterior; Maternal position; Randomised controlled trial; Second stage of labour
22.  An inexpensive device to treat postpartum hemorrhage: a preliminary proof of concept study of health provider opinion and training in Nepal 
Background
Obstetric hemorrhage remains the leading cause of maternal mortality in resource limited areas. An inexpensive pneumatic anti-shock garment was devised of bicycle tubes and tailored cloth which can be prepared from local materials in resource-limited settings. The main purposes of this study were: 1) to determine acceptability of the device by nurses and midwives and obtain suggestions for making the device more suitable for use in their particular work environments, 2) to determine whether a three hour training course provided adequate instruction in the use of this device for the application of circumferential abdominal pelvic pressure, and 3) determine production capability and cost in a resource-limited country.
Methods
Fifty-eight nurse and midwife participants took part in three sessions over eight months in Nepal. Correct device placement was assessed on non-pregnant participants using ultrasound measurement of distal aortic flow before and after device inflation, and analyzed using confidence intervals. Participants were surveyed to determine acceptability of the device, obtain suggestions for improvement, and to collect data on clinical use.
Results
Device placement achieved flow decreases with a mean of 39% (95% CI 25%-53%, p < 0.001) in the first session, 28% (95% CI 21%-33%, P < 0.001) after four months and 29% (95% CI 24%-34%, p < 0.001) at 8 months. All nurses and midwives thought the device would be acceptable for use in obstetric hemorrhage and that they could make, clean, and apply it. They quickly learned to apply the device, remembered how to apply it, and were willing and able to use the device clinically. Ten providers used the device, each on one patient, to treat obstetric hemorrhage after routine measures had failed; bleeding stopped promptly in all ten, two of whom were transported to the hospital. Production of devices in Kathmandu using local tailors and supplies cost approximately $40 per device, in a limited production setting.
Conclusions
Preliminary data suggest that an inexpensive, easily-made device is potentially an appropriate addition to current obstetric hemorrhage treatment in resource-limited areas and that further study is warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-81
PMCID: PMC3943447  PMID: 24564622
Aortic compression; Anti-shock garment; Maternal mortality; Military anti-shock trousers; Nepal; Pelvis/blood supply; Postpartum hemorrhage/therapy
23.  Recurrent secondary postpartum hemorrhages due to placental site vessel subinvolution and local uterine tissue coagulopathy 
Background
Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) represents a serious problem for women and obstetricians. Because of its association with hemorrhagic shock and predisposition to disseminated coagulopathy, it is a leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide. Furthermore, the jeopardy of PPH is rising with the secondary form of PPH occurring between 24 hours and 6 weeks postpartum, when women are already discharged home. The causes of this pathology are severe inflammation (endometritis), inherited coagulation disorders, consumptive coagulopathy, and retained products of conceptions. Others are of rare occurrence, such as vessel subinvolution (VSI) of the placental implantation site, uterine artery pseudoaneurysm, or trauma.
Case presentation
We present a rare form of recurrent secondary postpartum hemorrhage in a woman after uncomplicated cesarean delivery, with review of the literature linked to the management of this situation originating in the rare local VSI in the placental implantation site, defective decidual homeostasis, and coagulopathy confined to the uterus.
Conclusion
The placental site VSI is one of the rare causes of secondary PPH, and this situation is frequently underdiagnosed by clinicians. The histological confirmation of dilated “clustered”-shaped myometrial arteries partially occluded by thrombi of variable “age” together with the presence of endovascular extravillous trophoblasts confirms the diagnosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-80
PMCID: PMC3943456  PMID: 24558972
Puerperium; Secondary postpartum hemorrhage; Vessel subinvolution; Coagulopathy
24.  Modeling maternal mortality in Bangladesh: the role of misoprostol in postpartum hemorrhage prevention 
Background
Bangladesh is one of the few countries that may actually achieve the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in time, despite skilled birth attendance remaining low. The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential role misoprostol can play in the decline of maternal deaths attributed to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in Bangladesh.
Methods
Using data from a misoprostol and blood loss measurement tool feasibility study in Bangladesh, observed cause specific maternal mortality ratios (MMRs) were estimated and contrasted with expected ratios using estimates from the Bangladesh Maternal Mortality Survey (BMMS) data. Using Crystal Ball 7 we employ Monte Carlo simulation techniques to estimate maternal deaths in four scenarios, each with different levels of misoprostol coverage. These scenarios include project level misoprostol coverage (69%), no (0%), low (40%), and high (80%) misoprostol coverage. Data on receipt of clean delivery kit, use of misoprostol, experience of PPH, and cause of death were used in model assumptions.
Results
Using project level misoprostol coverage (69%), the mean number of PPH deaths expected was 40 (standard deviation = 8.01) per 100,000 live births. Assuming no misoprostol coverage (0%), the mean number of PPH deaths expected was 51 (standard deviation = 9.30) per 100,000 live births. For low misoprostol coverage (40%), the mean number of PPH deaths expected was 45 (standard deviation = 8.26) per 100,000 live births, and for high misoprostol coverage (80%), the mean number of PPH deaths expected was 38 (standard deviation = 7.04) per 100,000 live births.
Conclusion
This theoretical exercise hypothesizes that prophylactic use of misoprostol at home births may contribute to a reduction in the risk of death due to PPH, in addition to reducing the incidence of PPH. If findings from this modeling exercise are accurate and uterotonics can prevent maternal death, misoprostol could be the tool countries need to further reduce maternal mortality at home births.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-78
PMCID: PMC3932142  PMID: 24555848
Traditional birth attendant; Bangladesh; Postpartum hemorrhage; Maternal mortality; Misoprostol; Delivery mat; Monte Carlo
25.  Alcohol consumption during pregnancy and birth outcomes: the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study 
Background
A recent meta-analysis showed no relationships between light to moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the risk of low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth (PTB), or small-for-gestational-age (SGA). Here, we present the first epidemiological study on this topic in Japan.
Methods
Study subjects were 1565 Japanese mothers with singleton pregnancies and the babies born from these pregnancies. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy was assessed using a self-administered diet history questionnaire. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy was classified into three categories (none, < 1 g/day, and ≥ 1 g/day).
Results
The mean birth weight of the babies was 3006.3 g. 7.7% were classified as LBW, 4.0% as PTB, and 7.8% as SGA. The range of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy was 0.0 to 11.7 g per day: 1356 (86.7%) mothers were abstainers and the 95th percentile value was 0.84 g per day. Compared with abstinence, alcohol consumption of 1.0 g or more per day during pregnancy was significantly associated with an increased risk of PTB with a significant positive linear trend: the adjusted OR for PTB associated with maternal alcohol consumption of 1.0 g or more per day was 2.58 (95% CI: 1.004 - 5.80, P for trend = 0.03). No significant relationships were observed between maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the risk of LBW or SGA, and there was no material association between maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and birth weight.
Conclusions
This is the first study in Japan to show that maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy of 1.0 g or more per day was significantly positively associated with the risk of PTB, but not LBW or SGA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-79
PMCID: PMC3933512  PMID: 24555868

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