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1.  Women and healthcare providers’ perceptions of a midwife-led unit in a Swiss university hospital: a qualitative study 
Background
The development of medical-led care in obstetrics over the past decades has contributed to improving outcomes for both mother and child. Although efficiency has improved in complex situations, unnecessary interventions are still practiced in low-risk pregnancies, contrary to international recommendations. A shift to a less interventionist model of care has encouraged many countries to review their policies on maternal health care and develop models such as the “midwife-led unit” (MLU) where the midwife plays a predominant role with a minimum of routine intervention. Existing research has provided convincing evidence that MLUs lead to better maternal and neonatal outcomes when compared to traditional models. They not only improve the level of satisfaction amongst women, but are also associated with reduced healthcare costs. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of women and healthcare providers regarding the creation of an MLU in a Swiss university hospital.
Methods
A descriptive research study using qualitative methods was conducted among pregnant women and new mothers in a Swiss maternity unit, including also midwives and medical staff. Data collection was carried out through one-to-one interviews, focus groups, and telephone interviews (n = 63). After transcription, thematic analysis was performed.
Results
The triangulation of perceptions of women and healthcare providers indicated support for the implementation of an MLU to promote physiological delivery. Most women welcomed the idea of an MLU, in particular how it could help in offering continuity of care. Healthcare providers were optimistic about the implementation of an MLU and recognised the need for some women to have access to a less interventionist approach. From the women’s perspective, barriers concerned the lack of awareness of midwives’ full scope of practice, while barriers for midwives and obstetricians were related to the challenge to develop a good interprofessional collaboration.
Conclusion
Alternative models to provide maternity care for low-risk women have been developed and evaluated widely in several countries outside Switzerland. This study showed that women and healthcare providers were favourable towards the development of a new care model, while taking into account the specific expectations and barriers raised by participants.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0477-4
PMCID: PMC4359486  PMID: 25886389
Midwife-led unit; Maternity services care model; Midwifery; Continuity of care; Physiological childbirth; Qualitative research
2.  Effects of preconception counseling on maternal health care of migrant women in China: a community-based, cross-sectional survey 
Background
Migrants have long been a disadvantaged group in China’s health care system, especially in terms of maternal health care. Many studies have explored the factors associated with a lack of maternal health care and found many determinants, including social, economic, behavioral, and environmental factors. However, studies focusing on factors associated with maternal health care have rarely examined preconception counseling (PCC). This study explored factors related to PCC uptake among migrant women, and investigated the association between PCC and maternal health care in migrant women.
Methods
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted from July to December 2011, in Nanhai, Guangdong Province, and Pinghu, Zhejiang Province, China. A total of 1,012 migrant women who had their most recent pregnancy within 1 year of the survey answered a standardized interviewer-administered questionnaire about maternal health care. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression were used to analyze the data.
Results
Only 208 (20.6%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 18.1–23.1%) of 1,012 migrant women had received PCC. Younger age, having more than one child, lack of knowledge of maternal health care and inter-province migration were predictors of a lack of PCC. PCC was associated with higher consumption of folic acid supplements during the preconception period (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.65, 95% CI: 1.66–4.23). Among migrants who were resident in Nanhai or Pinghu for less than 5 years, PCC was related to better quality prenatal care (AOR = 3.07, 95% CI: 1.79–5.24).
Conclusions
The prevalence of PCC among migrant women was low (20.6%, 95% CI: 18.1–23.1%). Positive associations were found between the receipt of PCC and preconception folic acid supplements and quality prenatal care. Future studies focusing on maternal health care should pay attention to PCC and explore the effects of PCC on maternal health care through intervention studies. Continued efforts to increase PCC in migrants should target specific age groups (20–24 years), families with more than one child, and women who have migrated between provinces, as well as provide in-depth knowledge of maternal health care.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0485-4
PMCID: PMC4353459  PMID: 25880393
Maternal health care; Preconception counseling; Quality prenatal care; Folic acid supplements; Migrant
3.  Increasing uptake of influenza vaccine by pregnant women post H1N1 pandemic: a longitudinal study in Melbourne, Australia, 2010 to 2014 
Background
A Melbourne (Australia) university affiliated, tertiary obstetric hospital provides lay and professional education about influenza vaccine in pregnancy annually each March, early in the local influenza season. Responding to a 2011 survey of new mothers' opinions, the hospital made influenza vaccine freely available in antenatal clinics from 2012. We wished to determine influenza vaccination uptake during pregnancy with these strategies 5 years after 2009 H1N1.
Methods
Face to face interviews based on US Center for Disease Control and Prevention Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System with new mothers in postnatal wards each July, 2010 to 2014. We calculated recalled influenza vaccine uptake each year and assessed trends with chi square tests, and logistic regression.
Results
We recorded 1086 interviews. Influenza vaccination during pregnancy increased by 6% per year (95% confidence interval 4 to 8%): from 29.6% in 2010 to 51.3% in 2014 (p < 0.001). Lack of discussion from maternity caregivers was a persistent reason for non-vaccination, recalled by 1 in 2 non-vaccinated women. Survey respondents preferred face to face consultations with doctors and midwives, internet and text messaging as information sources about influenza vaccination. Survey responses indicate messages about vaccine safety in pregnancy and infant benefits are increasingly being heeded. However, there was progressively lower awareness of maternal benefits of influenza vaccination, especially for women with risk factors for severe disease.
Conclusions
We observed improving influenza vaccination during pregnancy. There is potential to integrate technology such as text message or internet with antenatal consultations to increase vaccination coverage further.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0486-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0486-3
PMCID: PMC4352234  PMID: 25880530
Pregnancy complications; Infectious/prevention & control; Influenza vaccines/immunology; Trivalent
4.  Evaluation of the quality of guidelines for the management of reduced fetal movements in UK maternity units 
Background
The development of evidence-based guidelines is a key step in ensuring that maternity care is of a universally high standard. To influence patient care national and international guidelines need to be interpreted and implemented locally. In 2011, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published guidelines for the management of reduced fetal movements (RFM), which can be an important symptom of fetal compromise. Following dissemination it was anticipated that this guidance would be implemented in UK maternity units. This study aimed to assess the quality of local guidelines for the management of RFM in comparison to published national standards.
Methods
Cross-sectional survey of maternity unit guidelines for RFM. The guidelines were assessed using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II Tool and scored by two independent investigators. Two national guidelines were used as standards to evaluate unit guidelines.
Results
Responses were received from 98 units (42%); 12 units had no guideline. National guidelines scored highly using the AGREE II tool but there was wide variation in the quality of individual maternity unit guidelines, which were frequently of low quality. No guidelines incorporated all the recommendations from the national guideline. Maternity unit guidelines performed well for clarity and presentation but had low scores for stakeholder involvement, rigour of development and applicability.
Conclusions
In contrast to national evidence based guidance the quality of maternity unit guidelines for RFM is variable and frequently of low quality. To increase quality, guidelines need to include up to date evidence and audit standards which could be taken directly from national evidence-based guidance. Barriers to local implementation and resource implications need to be taken into consideration. Training may also improve the implementation of the guideline. Research is needed to inform strategies to realize the benefits of clinical guidance in practice.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0484-5
PMCID: PMC4352260  PMID: 25884544
Reduced fetal movements; Management; Stillbirth; Stillbirth prevention; Risk management
5.  Change in level of physical activity during pregnancy in obese women: findings from the UPBEAT pilot trial 
Background
Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes. Physical activity (PA) might improve glucose metabolism and reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes. The purpose of this study was to explore patterns of PA and factors associated with change in PA in obese pregnant women.
Methods
PA was assessed objectively by accelerometer at 16 – 18 weeks’ (T0), 27 – 28 weeks’ (T1) and 35 – 36 weeks’ gestation (T2) in 183 obese pregnant women recruited to a pilot randomised trial of a combined diet and PA intervention (the UPBEAT study).
Results
Valid PA data were available for 140 (77%), 76 (42%) and 54 (30%) women at T0, T1 and T2 respectively. Moderate and vigorous physical activity as a proportion of accelerometer wear time declined with gestation from a median of 4.8% at T0 to 3% at T2 (p < 0.05). Total activity as a proportion of accelerometer wear time did not change. Being more active in early pregnancy was associated with a higher level of PA later in pregnancy. The intervention had no effect on PA.
Conclusions
PA in early pregnancy was the factor most strongly associated with PA at later gestations. Women should be encouraged to participate in PA before becoming pregnant and to maintain their activity levels during pregnancy. There is a need for effective interventions, tailored to the needs of individuals and delivered early in pregnancy to support obese women to be sufficiently active during pregnancy.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN89971375 (Registered 28/11/2008).
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0479-2
PMCID: PMC4352291  PMID: 25886590
Maternal obesity; Accelerometer; MVPA; Socio-demographic factors
6.  Successful five-item triage for the broad spectrum of mental disorders in pregnancy – a validation study 
Background
Mental disorders are prevalent during pregnancy, affecting 10% of women worldwide. To improve triage of a broad spectrum of mental disorders, we investigated the decision impact validity of: 1) a short set of currently used psychiatric triage items, 2) this set with the inclusion of some more specific psychiatric items (intermediate set), 3) this new set with the addition of the 10-item Edinburgh Depression Scale (extended set), and 4) the final set with the addition of common psychosocial co-predictors (comprehensive set).
Methods
This was a validation study including 330 urban pregnant women. Women completed a questionnaire including 20 psychiatric and 10 psychosocial items. Psychiatric diagnosis (gold standard) was obtained through Structured Clinical Interviews of DSM-IV axis I and II disorders (SCID-I and II). The outcome measure of our analysis was presence (yes/no) of any current mental disorder.
The performance of the short, intermediate, extended, and comprehensive triage models was evaluated by multiple logistic regression analysis, by analysis of the area under the ROC curve (AUC) and through associated performance measures, including, for example, sensitivity, specificity and the number of missed cases.
Results
Diagnostic performance of the short triage model (1) was acceptable (Nagelkerke's R2=0.276, AUC=0.740, 48 out of 131 cases were missed). The intermediate model (2) performed better (R2=0.547, AUC=0.883, 22 cases were missed) including the five items: ever experienced a traumatic event, ever had feelings of a depressed mood, ever had a panic attack, current psychiatric symptoms and current severe depressive or anxious symptoms. Addition of the 10-item Edinburgh Depression Scale or the three psychosocial items unplanned pregnancy, alcohol consumption and sexual/physical abuse (models 3 and 4) further increased R2 and AUC (>0.900), with 23 cases missed. Missed cases included pregnant women with a current eating disorder, psychotic disorder and the first onset of anxiety disorders.
Conclusions
For a valid detection of the full spectrum of common mental disorders during pregnancy, at least the intermediate set of five psychiatric items should be implemented in routine obstetric care. For a brief yet comprehensive triage, three high impact psychosocial items should be added as independent contributors.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0480-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0480-9
PMCID: PMC4363340  PMID: 25880273
Mental disorders; Personality disorders; Pregnancy; Psychosocial problems; Triage; Validation
7.  Preferences for infant delivery site among pregnant women and new mothers in Northern Karnataka, India 
Background
The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) of India aims to increase the uptake of safe and institutional delivery among rural communities to improve maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) outcomes. Previous studies in India have found that while there have been increasing numbers of institutional deliveries there are still considerable barriers to utilization and quality of services, particularly in rural areas, that may mitigate improvements achieved by MNCH interventions. This paper aims to explore the factors influencing preference for home, public or private hospital delivery among rural pregnant and new mothers in three northern districts of Karnataka state, South India.
Methods
In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted in 2010 among 110 pregnant women, new mothers (infants born within past 3 months), their husbands and mothers-in-law. Interviews were conducted in the local language (Kannada) and then translated to English for analysis. The interviews of pregnant women and new mothers were used for analysis to ultimately develop broader themes around definitions of quality care from the perspective of service users, and the influence this had on their delivery site preferences.
Results
Geographical and financial access were important barriers to accessing institutional delivery services in all districts, and among those both above and below the poverty line. Access issues of greatest concern were high costs at private institutions, continuing fees at public hospitals and the inconsistent receipt of government incentives. However, views on quality of care that shaped delivery site preferences were deeply rooted in socio-cultural expectations for comfortable, respectful and safe care that must ultimately be addressed to change negative perceptions about institutional, and particularly public hospital, care at delivery.
Conclusions
In the literature, quality of care beyond access has largely been overlooked in favour of support for incentives on the demand side, and more trained doctors, facilities and equipment on the supply side. Taking a comprehensive approach to quality of care in line with cultural values and community needs is imperative for improving experiences, utilization, and ultimately maternal and neonatal health outcomes at the time of delivery.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0481-8
PMCID: PMC4345019  PMID: 25884166
Delivery sites; Rural India; Quality of care; Qualitative; Reproductive health
8.  Person-centred care in interventions to limit weight gain in pregnant women with obesity - a systematic review 
Background
Person-centred care, asserting that individuals are partners in their care, has been associated with care satisfaction but the value of using it to support women with obesity during pregnancy is unknown. Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with increased risks for both mother and baby and weight gain therefore is an important intervention target. The aims of this review was to 1) explore to what extent and in what manner interventions assessing weight in pregnant women with obesity use person-centred care and 2) assess if interventions including aspects of person-centred care are more effective at limiting weight gain than interventions not employing person-centred care.
Methods
Ten databases were systematically searched in January 2014. Studies had to report an intervention offered to pregnant women with obesity and measure gestational weight gain to be included. All included studies were independently double coded to identify to what extent they included three defined aspects of person-centred care: 1) “initiate a partnership” including identifying the person’s circumstances and motivation; 2) “working the partnership” through sharing the decision-making regarding the planned action and 3) “safeguarding the partnership through documentation” of care preferences. Information on gestational weight gain, study quality and characteristics were also extracted.
Results
Ten studies were included in the review, of which five were randomised controlled trials (RCT), and the remaining observational studies. Four interventions included aspects of person-centred care; two observational studies included both “initiating the partnership”, and “working the partnership”. One observational study included “initiating the partnership” and one RCT included “working the partnership”. No interventions included “safeguarding the partnership through documentation”. Whilst all studies with person-centred care aspects showed promising findings regarding limiting gestational weight gain, so did the interventions not including person-centred care aspects.
Conclusions
The use of an identified person-centred care approach is presently limited in interventions targeting gestational weight gain in pregnant women with obesity. Hence to what extent person-centred care may improve health outcomes and care satisfaction in this population is currently unknown and more research is needed. That said, our findings suggest that use of routines incorporating person-centredness are feasible to include within these interventions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0463-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0463-x
PMCID: PMC4350295  PMID: 25885178
Person-centred care; Maternal obesity; Gestational weight gain; Intervention; Systematic review
9.  Successful prevention of exacerbation of thrombocytopenia in a pregnant patient with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura by anticoagulation treatment 
Background
Corticosteroid or intravenous immunoglobulin is used in the management of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura during pregnancy.
Case presentation
A patient with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura had a previous history of interrupted pregnancy due to severe thrombocytopenia, and was unresponsive to high doses of corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulin. Immediately following pregnancy, our patient had a marked elevation in plasma levels of fibrinogen degradation products, D-dimer, and platelet factor 4, with a decrease in platelets, suggesting platelet activation and thrombogenesis. Combined treatment with an anticoagulant agent could prevent exacerbation of thrombocytopenia throughout pregnancy. Although the underlying causes leading to the series in her pregnancy course were uncertain, there were notable serological abnormalities, such as weakly positive antinuclear antibody and anti-U1-RNP antibody.
Conclusion
When thrombocytopenia rapidly develops in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura immediately following pregnancy, the possibility of a thrombogenic state and differential diagnosis, including antiphospholipid syndrome and collagen vascular disease, should be considered. Treatment with an anticoagulant agent might then be appropriate.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0482-7
PMCID: PMC4345033  PMID: 25884311
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; Pregnancy; Thrombocytopenia; Anticoagulation
10.  A qualitative study on barriers in the prevention of anaemia during pregnancy in public health centres: perceptions of Indonesian nurse-midwives 
Background
Anemia in pregnancy remains a major problem in Indonesia over the past decade. Early detection of anaemia in pregnancy is one of the components which is unsuccessfully implemented by nurse-midwives. This study aims to explore nurse-midwives’ experiences in managing pregnant women with anaemia in Public Health Centres.
Methods
We conducted a qualitative study with semi-structured face to face interviews from November 2011 to February 2012 with 23 nurse-midwives in five districts in Yogyakarta Special Province. Data analysis was thematic, using the constant comparison method, making comparison between participants and supported by ATLAS.ti software.
Results
Twelve nurse-midwives included in the interviews had less than or equal to 10 years’ working experience (junior nurse-midwives) and 11 nurse-midwives had more than 10 years’ working experience (senior nurse-midwives) in Public Health Centres. The senior nurse-midwives mostly worked as coordinators in Public Health Centres. Three main themes emerged: 1) the lack of competence and clinical skill; 2) cultural beliefs and low participation of family in antenatal care programme; 3) insufficient facilities and skilled support staff in Public Health Centres. The nurse-midwives realized that they need to improve their communication and clinical skills to manage pregnant women with anaemia. The husband and family involvement in antenatal care was constrained by the strength of cultural beliefs and lack of health information. Moreover, unfavourable work environment of the Public Health Centres made it difficult to apply antenatal care the pregnant womens’ need.
Conclusions
The availability of facilities and skilled staffs in Public Health Centre as well as pregnant women’s husbands or family members contribute to the success of managing anaemia in pregnancy. Nurse-midwives and pregnant women need to be empowered to achieve the optimum result of anaemia management. We recommend a more comprehensive approach in managing pregnant women with anaemia, which synergizes the available resources and empowers nurse-midwives and pregnant women.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0478-3
PMCID: PMC4348154  PMID: 25886505
Nurse-midwives; Competences; Anaemia; Pregnant women; Antenatal care; Comprehensive approach
11.  A community-based assessment of correlates of facility delivery among HIV-infected women in western Kenya 
Background
Childbirth at health facilities is an important strategy to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, improve fetal outcomes, and reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Although access to antenatal care in Kenya is high (>90%), less than half of births occur at health facilities. This analysis aims to assess correlates of facility delivery among recently pregnant HIV-infected women participating in a community-based survey, and to determine whether these correlates were unique when compared to HIV-uninfected women from the same region.
Methods
Women residing in the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health and Demographic Surveillance System, and who had delivered an infant in the previous year were visited at home in 2011. Consenting mothers answered a questionnaire assessing demographics, place of delivery, utilization of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services, and stigma indicators. Known HIV-positive women were purposively oversampled. Chi-square tests of proportions and multivariate logistic regression, stratified by HIV status, were performed to assess correlates of facility delivery.
Results
Overall, 101 (46.8%) HIV-infected and 127 (39.9%) HIV-uninfected women delivered at health facilities. Among HIV-infected women, cost (42.8%), distance (18.8%) and fear of harsh treatment (15.2%) were primary disincentives for facility delivery; 2.9% noted fear of HIV testing was a disincentive. HIV-infected women who delivered at facilities had higher education (p = 0.04) and socioeconomic status (p < 0.005), initiated antenatal care (ANC) earlier (4.9 vs. 5.4 months, p = 0.016), were more likely to know partner’s HIV status (p = 0.016), report satisfaction with delivery care (p = 0.001) and use antiretrovirals (87.1% vs. 77.4%, p = 0.063) compared to those with non-facility delivery. Stigma indicators were not associated with delivery location. Similar cofactors of facility delivery were noted among uninfected women.
Conclusions
Utilization of facility delivery remains low in Kenya and poses a challenge to elimination of infant HIV and reduction of peripartum mortality. Cost, distance, and harsh treatment were cited as barriers and these need to be addressed programmatically. HIV-infected women with lower socioeconomic status and those who present late to ANC should be prioritized for interventions to increase facility delivery. Partner involvement may increase use of maternity services and could be enhanced by couples counseling.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0467-6
PMCID: PMC4344995  PMID: 25885458
HIV; Facility delivery; Infant; Partner; Antiretroviral
12.  Effect of external airflow resistive load on postural and exercise-associated cardiovascular and pulmonary responses in pregnancy: a case control study 
Background
Facial coverings (e.g., balaclavas, niqabs, medical/surgical masks, respirators, etc.), that impose low levels of airflow resistive loads, are worn by millions of pregnant women worldwide, but little data exist addressing their impact on pregnancy-associated cardiovascular and pulmonary responses.
Methods
16 pregnant and 16 non-pregnant women were monitored physiologically (heart rate, blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, total peripheral resistance, stroke volume, cardiac output, oxygen saturation, transcutaneous carbon dioxide, fetal heart rate) and subjectively (exertion) for 1 h of mixed sedentary postural activity (sitting, standing) and moderate exercise (bicycle ergometer) with and without wearing N95 filtering facepiece respirators with filter resistive loads of 94.1 Pa (9.6 mm H2O) – 119.6 Pa (12.2 mm H2O) pressure.
Results
The external airflow resistive loads were associated with increases in diastolic pressure (p = 0.004), mean arterial pressure (p = 0.01), and subjective exertion score (p < 0.001) of all study subjects. No significant differences were noted with the external resistive loads between the pregnant and non-pregnant groups for any cardiovascular, pulmonary and subjective variable over 1 h.
Conclusions
Low external airflow resistive loads, during combined sedentary postural activity and moderate exercise over 1 h, were associated with increases in the diastolic and mean arterial pressures of all study subjects, but pregnancy itself was not associated with any significant differences in physiologic or subjective responses to the external airway resistive loads utilized in the study.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0474-7
PMCID: PMC4357216  PMID: 25886031
Pregnancy; External airflow resistive loads; Effects; Cardiovascular; Pulmonary
13.  Sexuality among fathers of newborns in Jamaica 
Background
While a growing body of research has addressed pregnancy and postpartum impacts on female sexuality, relatively little work has been focused upon men. A few studies suggest that a fraction of men report decreases in libido during a partner’s pregnancy and/or postpartum, with alterations in men’s sexual behavior also commonly aligning with those of a partner. Here, we investigate sexuality among fathers of newborn children in Jamaica. In Jamaica, as elsewhere in the Caribbean, relationship dynamics can be fluid, contributing to variable paternal roles and care, as well as a high fraction of children born into visiting relationships in which parents live apart from each other.
Methods
During July-September, 2011, 3410 fathers of newborns with an average age of 31 (SD = 8) years participated in the fatherhood arm of a national birth cohort study (JAKids). These fathers answered questions about sociodemographic background, relationship quality and sexuality (e.g., various components of sexual function such as sex drive and sexual satisfaction as well as number of sexual partners the previous 12 months and sexual intercourse the previous week) during a visit to a hospital or birth center within a day or two of their child being born.
Results
Showed that sex drive was more variable than other components (erections, ejaculation, problem assessment) of sexual function, though sexual satisfaction was generally high. Thirty percent of men reported two or more sexual partners the previous 12 months. Nearly half of men indicated not engaging in sexual intercourse the past week. Multivariate analyses showed that relationship status was related to various aspects of men’s sexuality, such as men in visiting relationships reporting more sexual partners and more openness to casual sex. Relationship quality was the most consistent predictor of men’s sexuality, with men in higher quality relationships reporting higher sexual satisfaction, fewer sexual partners, and higher frequency of sex, among other findings.
Conclusions
These results provide an unusually large, quantitative look at men’s sexuality during the transition to fatherhood in Jamaica, offering helpful insight to would-be parents, clinicians or others seeking to anticipate the effects of a partner’s pregnancy on men’s sexuality.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0475-6
PMCID: PMC4337314  PMID: 25886162
Fatherhood; Men; Parents; Caribbean; Sexual function; Sexual relationship
14.  Regional differences in severe postpartum hemorrhage: a nationwide comparative study of 1.6 million deliveries 
Background
The incidence of severe postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is increasing. Regional variation may be attributed to variation in provision of care, and as such contribute to this increasing incidence. We assessed reasons for regional variation in severe PPH in the Netherlands.
Methods
We used the Netherlands Perinatal Registry and the Dutch Maternal Mortality Committee to study severe PPH incidences (defined as blood loss ≥ 1000 mL) across both regions and neighborhoods of cities among all deliveries between 2000 and 2008. We first calculated crude incidences. We then used logistic multilevel regression analyses, with hospital or midwife practice as second level to explore further reasons for the regional variation.
Results
We analyzed 1599867 deliveries in which the incidence of severe PPH was 4.5%. Crude incidences of severe PPH varied with factor three between regions while between neighborhoods variation was even larger. We could not explain regional variation by maternal characteristics (age, parity, ethnicity, socioeconomic status), pregnancy characteristics (singleton, gestational age, birth weight, pre-eclampsia, perinatal death), medical interventions (induction of labor, mode of delivery, perineal laceration, placental removal) and health care setting.
Conclusions
In a nationwide study in The Netherlands, we observed wide practice variation in PPH. This variation could not be explained by maternal characteristics, pregnancy characteristics, medical interventions or health care setting. Regional variation is either unavoidable or subsequent to regional variation of a yet unregistered variable.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0473-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0473-8
PMCID: PMC4341225  PMID: 25885884
Cohort study; Postpartum hemorrhage; Geographic distribution; Epidemiology; Maternal mortality
15.  Variation in referrals to secondary obstetrician-led care among primary midwifery care practices in the Netherlands: a nationwide cohort study 
Background
The primary aim of this study was to describe the variation in intrapartum referral rates in midwifery practices in the Netherlands. Secondly, we wanted to explore the association between the practice referral rate and a woman’s chance of an instrumental birth (caesarean section or vaginal instrumental birth).
Methods
We performed an observational study, using the Dutch national perinatal database. Low risk births in all primary care midwifery practices over the period 2008–2010 were selected. Intrapartum referral rates were calculated. The referral rate among nulliparous women was used to divide the practices in three tertile groups. In a multilevel logistic regression analysis the association between the referral rate and the chance of an instrumental birth was examined.
Results
The intrapartum referral rate varied from 9.7 to 63.7 percent (mean 37.8; SD 7.0), and for nulliparous women from 13.8 to 78.1 percent (mean 56.8; SD 8.4). The variation occurred predominantly in non-urgent referrals in the first stage of labour. In the practices in the lowest tertile group more nulliparous women had a spontaneous vaginal birth compared to the middle and highest tertile group (T1: 77.3%, T2:73.5%, T3: 72.0%). For multiparous women the spontaneous vaginal birth rate was 97%. Compared to the lowest tertile group the odds ratios for nulliparous women for an instrumental birth were 1.22 (CI 1.16-1.31) and 1.33 (CI 1.25-1.41) in the middle and high tertile groups. This association was no longer significant after controlling for obstetric interventions (pain relief or augmentation).
Conclusions
The wide variation between referral rates may not be explained by medical factors or client characteristics alone. A high intrapartum referral rate in a midwifery practice is associated with an increased chance of an instrumental birth for nulliparous women, which is mediated by the increased use of obstetric interventions. Midwives should critically evaluate their referral behaviour. A high referral rate may indicate that more interventions are applied than necessary. This may lead to a lower chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth and a higher risk on a PPH. However, a low referral rate should not be achieved at the cost of perinatal safety.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0471-x
PMCID: PMC4342018  PMID: 25885706
Midwifery; Referral; Instrumental birth
16.  Obstetric care providers are able to assess psychosocial risks, identify and refer high-risk pregnant women: validation of a short assessment tool – the KINDEX Greek version 
Background
Prenatal assessment for psychosocial risk factors and prevention and intervention is scarce and, in most cases, nonexistent in obstetrical care. In this study we aimed to evaluate if the KINDEX, a short instrument developed in Germany, is a useful tool in the hands of non-trained medical staff, in order to identify and refer women in psychosocial risk to the adequate mental health and social services. We also examined the criterion-related concurrent validity of the tool through a validation interview carried out by an expert clinical psychologist. Our final objective was to achieve the cultural adaptation of the KINDEX Greek Version and to offer a valid tool for the psychosocial risk assessment to the obstetric care providers.
Methods
Two obstetricians and five midwives carried out 93 KINDEX interviews (duration 20 minutes) with pregnant women to assess psychosocial risk factors present during pregnancy. Afterwards they referred women who they identified having two or more psychosocial risk factors to the mental health attention unit of the hospital. During the validation procedure an expert clinical psychologist carried out diagnostic interviews with a randomized subsample of 50 pregnant women based on established diagnostic instruments for stress and psychopathology, like the PSS-14, ESI, PDS, HSCL-25.
Results
Significant correlations between the results obtained through the assessment using the KINDEX and the risk areas of stress, psychopathology and trauma load assessed in the validation interview demonstrate the criterion-related concurrent validity of the KINDEX. The referral accuracy of the medical staff is confirmed through comparisons between pregnant women who have and have not been referred to the mental health attention unit.
Conclusions
Prenatal screenings for psychosocial risks like the KINDEX are feasible in public health settings in Greece. In addition, validity was confirmed in high correlations between the KINDEX results and the results of the validation interviews. The KINDEX Greek version can be considered a valid tool, which can be used by non-trained medical staff providing obstetrical care to identify high-risk women and refer them to adequate mental health and social services. These kind of assessments are indispensable for the promotion of a healthy family environment and child development.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0462-y
PMCID: PMC4343273  PMID: 25884996
17.  Designs of two randomized, community-based trials to assess the impact of influenza immunization during pregnancy on respiratory illness among pregnant women and their infants and reproductive outcomes in rural Nepal 
Background
Among the most important causes of illness and death in both pregnant women and their newborn infants are respiratory infections including influenza. Pregnant women in North America have a 4 to 5 fold excess rate of hospitalization compared to non-pregnant women. Rates of infant hospitalization associated with influenza are much higher than in their mothers. Fully half of children hospitalized for influenza in the US are in the age group 0–5 months, a group where no vaccine is licensed. Data on influenza are much fewer in low income countries where the risks of serious morbidity and mortality are much higher. A recent trial in Bangladesh suggested that influenza immunization in pregnant women could have important protective effects against influenza in both mothers and their infants. These trials were designed to provide additional evidence about the effect of influenza vaccination in pregnancy in settings where influenza may circulate for up to ten months/year.
Methods/Design
We conducted a consecutive pair of community-based, placebo-controlled, randomized trials of influenza vaccination of pregnant women in a rural district in southern Nepal. Two trials were conducted to insure, as much as possible, the match of circulating strains with those included in the vaccine. Eligible women included all who were or became pregnant over a one year period. Each trial included a one year cohort of pregnant women who were individually randomized to the influenza vaccine available at the time of their enrollment or placebo. Exclusions included a history of allergy to vaccine components, prior influenza vaccine receipt, and for the second trial, participation in the first trial. Morbidity was assessed on a weekly basis for women throughout pregnancy and through 180 days post-partum. Infants were followed weekly through 180 days. Primary outcomes included: 1) incidence of influenza like illness in women, 2) incidence of laboratory confirmed influenza illness in infants, and 3) birthweight among newborn infants.
Discussion
We have presented the design and methods of two randomized trials of influenza immunization of pregnant women.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov: (NCT01034254).
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0470-y
PMCID: PMC4339255  PMID: 25879974
Influenza vaccination; Pregnancy; Early infancy; Influenza like illness; Influenza illness; Birthweight
18.  BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth reviewer acknowledgement 2014 
Contributing reviewers
The editors of BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 14 (2014).
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0443-1
PMCID: PMC4331299
19.  Triple return on investment: the cost and impact of 13 interventions that could prevent stillbirths and save the lives of mothers and babies in South Africa 
Background
The time of labor, birth and the first days of life are the most vulnerable period for mothers and children. Despite significant global advocacy, there is insufficient understanding of the investment required to save additional lives. In particular, stillbirths have been neglected. Over 20 000 stillbirths are recorded annually in South Africa, many of which could be averted. This analysis examines available South Africa specific stillbirth data and evaluates the impact and cost-effectiveness of 13 interventions acknowledged to prevent stillbirths and maternal and newborn mortality.
Methods
Multiple data sources were reviewed to evaluate changes in stillbirth rates since 2000. The intervention analysis used the Lives Saved tool (LiST) and the Family Planning module (FamPlan) in Spectrum. LiST was used to determine the number of stillbirths and maternal and neonatal deaths that could be averted by scaling up the interventions to full coverage (99%) in 2030. The impact of family planning was assessed by increasing FamPlan’s default 70% coverage of modern contraception to 75% and 80% coverage. Total and incremental costs were determined in the LiST costing module. Cost-effectiveness measured incremental cost effectiveness ratios per potential life years gained.
Results
Significant variability exists in national stillbirth data. Using the international stillbirth definition, the SBR was 17.6 per 1 000 births in 2013. Full coverage of the 13 interventions in 2030 could reduce the SBR by 30% to 12.4 per 1 000 births, leading to an MMR of 132 per 100 000 and an NMR of 7 per 1 000 live births. Increased family planning coverage reduces the number of deaths significantly. The full intervention package, with 80% family planning coverage in 2030, would require US$420 million (US$7.8 per capita) annually, which is less than baseline costs of US$550 million (US$10.2 per capita). All interventions were highly cost-effective.
Conclusion
This is the first analysis in South Africa to assess the impact of scaling up interventions to avert stillbirths. Improved coverage of 13 interventions that are already recommended could significantly impact the rates of stillbirth and maternal and neonatal mortality. Family planning should also be prioritized to reduce mortality and overall costs.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0456-9
PMCID: PMC4337184  PMID: 25879579
Stillbirths; Maternal health; Child health; Cost analysis; South Africa
20.  Epigenetic regulation of lncRNA connects ubiquitin-proteasome system with infection-inflammation in preterm births and preterm premature rupture of membranes 
Background
Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is responsible for one third of all preterm births (PTBs). We have recently demonstrated that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are differentially expressed in human placentas derived from PPROM, PTB, premature rupture of the membranes (PROM), and full-term birth (FTB), and determined the major biological pathways involved in PPROM.
Methods
Here, we further investigated the relationship of lncRNAs, which are differentially expressed in spontaneous PTB (sPTB) and PPROM placentas and are found to overlap a coding locus, with the differential expression of transcribed mRNAs at the same locus. Ten lncRNAs (five up-regulated and five down-regulated) and the lncRNA-associated 10 mRNAs (six up- and four down-regulated), which were identified by microarray in comparing PPROM vs. sPTB, were then validated by real-time quantitative PCR.
Results
A total of 62 (38 up- and 24 down-regulated) and 1,923 (790 up- and 1,133 down-regulated) lncRNAs were identified from placentas of premature labor (sPTB + PPROM), as compared to those from full-term labor (FTB + PROM) and from premature rupture of membranes (PPROM + PROM), as compared to those from non-rupture of membranes (sPTB + FTB), respectively. We found that a correlation existed between differentially expressed lncRNAs and their associated mRNAs, which could be grouped into four categories based on the gene strand (sense or antisense) of lncRNA and its paired transcript. These findings suggest that lncRNA regulates mRNA transcription through differential mechanisms. Differential expression of the transcripts PPP2R5C, STAM, TACC2, EML4, PAM, PDE4B, STAM, PPP2R5C, PDE4B, and EGFR indicated a co-expression among these mRNAs, which are involved in the ubiquitine-proteasome system (UPS), in addition to signaling transduction and beta adrenergic signaling, suggesting that imbalanced regulation of UPS may present an additional mechanism underlying the premature rupture of membrane in PPROM.
Conclusion
Differentially expressed lncRNAs that were identified from the human placentas of sPTB and PPROM may regulate their associated mRNAs through differential mechanisms and connect the ubiquitin-proteasome system with infection-inflammation pathways. Although the detailed mechanisms by which lncRNAs regulate their associated mRNAs in sPTB and PPROM are yet to be clarified, our findings open a new approach to explore the pathogenesis of sPTB and PPROM.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0460-0
PMCID: PMC4335366  PMID: 25884766
Preterm birth (PTB); Preterm premature rupture of membrane (PPROM); Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA); mRNA; Pathogenic mechanism
21.  Unsafe abortion in Kenya: a cross-sectional study of abortion complication severity and associated factors 
Background
Complications due to unsafe abortion cause high maternal morbidity and mortality, especially in developing countries. This study describes post-abortion complication severity and associated factors in Kenya.
Methods
A nationally representative sample of 326 health facilities was included in the survey. All regional and national referral hospitals and a random sample of lower level facilities were selected. Data were collected from 2,625 women presenting with abortion complications. A complication severity indicator was developed as the main outcome variable for this paper and described by women’s socio-demographic characteristics and other variables. Ordered logistic regression models were used for multivariable analyses.
Results
Over three quarters of abortions clients presented with moderate or severe complications. About 65 % of abortion complications were managed by manual or electronic vacuum aspiration, 8% by dilation and curettage, 8% misoprostol and 19% by forceps and fingers. The odds of having moderate or severe complications for mistimed pregnancies were 43% higher than for wanted pregnancies (OR, 1.43; CI 1.01-2.03). For those who never wanted any more children the odds for having a severe complication was 2 times (CI 1.36-3.01) higher compared to those who wanted the pregnancy then. Women who reported inducing the abortion had 2.4 times higher odds of having a severe complication compared to those who reported that it was spontaneous (OR, 2.39; CI 1.72-3.34). Women who had a delay of more than 6 hours to get to a health facility had at least 2 times higher odds of having a moderate/severe complication compared to those who sought care within 6 hours from onset of complications. A delay of 7–48 hours was associated with OR, 2.12 (CI 1.42-3.17); a delay of 3–7 days OR, 2.01 (CI 1.34-2.99) and a delay of more than 7 days, OR 2.35 (CI 1.45-3.79).
Conclusions
Moderate and severe post-abortion complications are common in Kenya and a sizeable proportion of these are not properly managed. Factors such as delay in seeking care, interference with pregnancy, and unwanted pregnancies are important determinants of complication severity and fortunately these are amenable to targeted interventions.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0459-6
PMCID: PMC4338617  PMID: 25884662
Unsafe abortion; Kenya; Maternal mortality; Complication; Severity; Termination of pregnancy
22.  Causes of perinatal mortality and associated maternal complications in a South African province: challenges in predicting poor outcomes 
Background
Reviews of perinatal deaths are mostly facility based. Given the number of women who, globally, deliver outside of facilities, this data may be biased against total population data. We aimed to analyse population based perinatal mortality data from a LMIC setting (Mpumalanga, South Africa) to determine the causes of perinatal death and the rate of maternal complications in the setting of a perinatal death.
Methods
A secondary analysis of the South African Perinatal Problems Identification Program (PPIP) database for the Province of Mpumalanga was undertaken for the period October 2013 to January 2014, inclusive. Data on each individual late perinatal death was reviewed. We examined the frequencies of maternal and fetal or neonatal characteristics in late fetal deaths and analysed the relationships between maternal condition and fetal and/or neonatal outcomes. IBM SPSS Statistics 22.0 was used for data analysis.
Results
There were 23503 births and 687 late perinatal deaths (stillbirths of ≥ 1000gr or ≥ 28 weeks gestation and early neonatal deaths up to day 7 of neonatal life) in the study period. The rate of maternal complication in macerated stillbirths, fresh stillbirths and early neonatal deaths was 50.4%, 50.7% and 25.8% respectively. Mothers in the other late perinatal deaths were healthy. Maternal hypertension and obstetric haemorrhage were more likely in stillbirths (p = <0.01 for both conditions), whereas ENNDs were more likely to have a healthy mother (p < 0.01). The main causes of neonatal death were related to immaturity (48.7%) and hypoxia (40.6%). 173 (25.2%) of all late perinatal deaths had a birth weight less than the 10th centile for gestational age.
Conclusion
A significant proportion of women have no recognisable obstetric or medical condition at the time of a late perinatal death; we may be limited in our ability to predict poor perinatal outcome if emphasis is put on detecting maternal complications prior to a perinatal death. Intrapartum care and hypertensive disease remain high priority areas for addressing perinatal mortality. Consideration needs to be given to novel ways of detecting growth restriction in a LMIC setting.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0472-9
PMCID: PMC4339432  PMID: 25880128
Perinatal mortality; Maternal complication; Growth restriction; Hypertension; Intrapartum care
23.  Adherence, tolerance and effectiveness of two different pelvic support belts as a treatment for pregnancy-related symphyseal pain - a pilot randomized trial 
Background
Pregnancy-related pubic symphysis pain is relatively common and can significantly interfere with daily activities. Physiotherapist-prescribed pelvic support belts are a treatment option, but little evidence exists to support their use. This pilot compared two pelvic belts to determine effectiveness (symptomatic relief), tolerance (comfort) and adherence (frequency, duration of use).
Methods
Unblinded, 2-arm, single-center, randomized (1:1) parallel-group trial. Twenty pregnant women recruited from the community (Dunedin, New Zealand), with physiotherapist-diagnosed symphyseal pain, were randomly allocated to wear either a flexible or rigid belt for three weeks. One author, not involved in data collection, randomized the allocation to trial group. The unblinded primary outcome was the Patient Specific Functional Scale (PSFS). Secondary outcomes were pain intensity during the preceding 24 hours and preceding week (visual analogue scale [VAS]), and disability (Modified Oswestry Disability Questionnaire [MODQ]). Duration of use (hours) was recorded daily by text messaging. Participants were assessed at baseline, by weekly phone interviews and at intervention completion (three weeks). To assess comfort, women wore the alternate belt in the fourth week.
Results
Twenty pregnant women (mean ± SD age, 29.4 ± 6.5 years; mean gestation at baseline, 30.8 ± 5.2 weeks) were randomized to treatment groups (flexible = 10, rigid =10) and all were included in analysis. When adjusted for baseline, PSFS scores were not significantly different between groups at follow up (mean difference −0.1; 95% CI: −2.5 to 2.3; p =0.94). Pain in the preceding 24 hours reached statistical significance in favor of the flexible belt (VAS, p = 0.049). Combining both groups’ data, function and pain were significantly improved at three weeks (mean difference −2.3; 95% CI: 1.2 to 3.5; p< 0.001). Belts were worn for an average of 4.9 ± 2.9 hours per day; women preferred the flexible belt. No adverse events were reported.
Conclusion
These preliminary results suggest the flexible pelvic support belt may be more effective in reducing pain and is potentially better tolerated than a rigid belt. Based on these data, a larger trial is both feasible and clinically useful.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12614000898651, 25th August, 2014.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0468-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0468-5
PMCID: PMC4339641  PMID: 25885585
Pubic symphysis pain; Pelvic support belts; Pain; Function; Disability; Tolerance; Effectiveness; Adherence
24.  The influence of preferred place of birth on the course of pregnancy and labor among healthy nulliparous women: a prospective cohort study 
Background
Most studies on birth settings investigate the association between planned place of birth at the start of labor and birth outcomes and intervention rates. To optimize maternity care it also is important to pay attention to the entire process of pregnancy and childbirth. This study explores the association between the initial preferred place of birth and model of care, and the course of pregnancy and labor in low-risk nulliparous women in the Netherlands.
Methods
As part of a Dutch prospective cohort study (2007–2011), we compared medical indications during pregnancy and birth outcomes of 576 women who initially preferred a home birth (n = 226), a midwife-led hospital birth (n = 168) or an obstetrician-led hospital birth (n = 182). Data were obtained by a questionnaire before 20 weeks of gestation and by medical records. Analyses were performed according to the initial preferred place of birth.
Results
Low-risk nulliparous women who preferred a home birth with midwife-led care were less likely to be diagnosed with a medical indication during pregnancy compared to women who preferred a birth with obstetrician-led care (OR 0.41 95% CI 0.25-0.66). Preferring a birth with midwife-led care – both at home and in hospital - was associated with lower odds of induced labor (OR 0.51 95% CI 0.28-0.95 respectively OR 0.42 95% CI 0.21-0.85) and epidural analgesia (OR 0.32 95% CI 0.18-0.56 respectively OR 0.34 95% CI 0.19-0.62) compared to preferring a birth with obstetrician-led care. In addition, women who preferred a home birth were less likely to experience augmentation of labor (OR 0.54 95% CI 0.32-0.93) and narcotic analgesia (OR 0.41 95% CI 0.21-0.79) compared to women who preferred a birth with obstetrician-led care. We observed no significant association between preferred place of birth and mode of birth.
Conclusions
Nulliparous women who initially preferred a home birth were less likely to be diagnosed with a medical indication during pregnancy. Women who initially preferred a birth with midwife-led care – both at home and in hospital – experienced lower rates of interventions during labor. Although some differences can be attributed to the model of care, we suggest that characteristics and attitudes of women themselves also play an important role.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0455-x
PMCID: PMC4342224  PMID: 25884308
Models of maternity care; Place of birth; Course of pregnancy; Birth outcomes
25.  Uterine artery Doppler in the management of early pregnancy loss: a prospective, longitudinal study 
Background
The pharmacological management of early pregnancy loss reduced substantially the need for dilation and curettage. However, prognostic markers of successful outcome were not established. Thus the major purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the uterine artery pulsatility (PI) and resistance (RI) indices to detect early pregnancy loss patients requiring dilation and curettage after unsuccessful management.
Methods
A cohort prospective observational study was undertaken to include women with early pregnancy loss, ≤ 12 weeks of gestation, managed with mifepristone (200 mg) and misoprostol (1600 μg) followed by PI and RI evaluation of both uterine arteries 2 weeks after. At this time, in 173/315 patients, incomplete miscarriage was diagnosed. Among them, 32 underwent uterine dilatation and curettage at 8 weeks of follow-up.
Results
The cut-off points for the uterine artery PI and RI, leading to the maximum values of sensitivity (69.5%, CI95%: 61.5%-76.5% and 75.0%, CI95%: 57.9%-86.8%, respectively) and specificity (75.0%, CI95%: 57.9%-86.8% and 65.6%, CI95%: 48.3%-79.6%, respectively), for the discrimination between the women who needed curettage from those who resolved spontaneously were 2.8 and 1, respectively.
Conclusions
The potential usefulness of uterine artery Doppler evaluation to predict the need for uterine curettage in patients submitted to medical treatment for early pregnancy loss was demonstrated.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0464-9
PMCID: PMC4332726  PMID: 25879688
Early pregnancy loss; Incomplete miscarriage; Uterine artery Doppler

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