Publications by authors named "Elizabeth M McClure"

210 Publications

Global, regional, and national estimates and trends in stillbirths from 2000 to 2019: a systematic assessment.

Lancet 2021 08;398(10302):772-785

Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA.

Background: Stillbirths are a major public health issue and a sensitive marker of the quality of care around pregnancy and birth. The UN Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health (2016-30) and the Every Newborn Action Plan (led by UNICEF and WHO) call for an end to preventable stillbirths. A first step to prevent stillbirths is obtaining standardised measurement of stillbirth rates across countries. We estimated stillbirth rates and their trends for 195 countries from 2000 to 2019 and assessed progress over time.

Methods: For a systematic assessment, we created a dataset of 2833 country-year datapoints from 171 countries relevant to stillbirth rates, including data from registration and health information systems, household-based surveys, and population-based studies. After data quality assessment and exclusions, we used 1531 datapoints to estimate country-specific stillbirth rates for 195 countries from 2000 to 2019 using a Bayesian hierarchical temporal sparse regression model, according to a definition of stillbirth of at least 28 weeks' gestational age. Our model combined covariates with a temporal smoothing process such that estimates were informed by data for country-periods with high quality data, while being based on covariates for country-periods with little or no data on stillbirth rates. Bias and additional uncertainty associated with observations based on alternative stillbirth definitions and source types, and observations that were subject to non-sampling errors, were included in the model. We compared the estimated stillbirth rates and trends to previously reported mortality estimates in children younger than 5 years.

Findings: Globally in 2019, an estimated 2·0 million babies (90% uncertainty interval [UI] 1·9-2·2) were stillborn at 28 weeks or more of gestation, with a global stillbirth rate of 13·9 stillbirths (90% UI 13·5-15·4) per 1000 total births. Stillbirth rates in 2019 varied widely across regions, from 22·8 stillbirths (19·8-27·7) per 1000 total births in west and central Africa to 2·9 (2·7-3·0) in western Europe. After west and central Africa, eastern and southern Africa and south Asia had the second and third highest stillbirth rates in 2019. The global annual rate of reduction in stillbirth rate was estimated at 2·3% (90% UI 1·7-2·7) from 2000 to 2019, which was lower than the 2·9% (2·5-3·2) annual rate of reduction in neonatal mortality rate (for neonates aged <28 days) and the 4·3% (3·8-4·7) annual rate of reduction in mortality rate among children aged 1-59 months during the same period. Based on the lower bound of the 90% UIs, 114 countries had an estimated decrease in stillbirth rate since 2000, with four countries having a decrease of at least 50·0%, 28 having a decrease of 25·0-49·9%, 50 having a decrease of 10·0-24·9%, and 32 having a decrease of less than 10·0%. For the remaining 81 countries, we found no decrease in stillbirth rate since 2000. Of these countries, 34 were in sub-Saharan Africa, 16 were in east Asia and the Pacific, and 15 were in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Interpretation: Progress in reducing the rate of stillbirths has been slow compared with decreases in the mortality rate of children younger than 5 years. Accelerated improvements are most needed in the regions and countries with high stillbirth rates, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Future prevention of stillbirths needs increased efforts to raise public awareness, improve data collection, assess progress, and understand public health priorities locally, all of which require investment.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01112-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8417352PMC
August 2021

Maternal and fetal vascular lesions of malperfusion in the placentas associated with fetal and neonatal death: results of a prospective observational study.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2021 Jun 8. Epub 2021 Jun 8.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Background: Fetal death is one of the major adverse pregnancy outcomes and is common in low- and middle-income countries. Placental lesions may play an important role in the etiology of fetal and neonatal deaths. Previous research relating placental lesions to fetal death causation was hindered by a lack of agreement on a placental classification scheme. The Amsterdam consensus statement that was published in 2016 focused its attention on malperfusions in the maternal and fetal placental circulations.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the relationships of placental maternal and fetal vascular malperfusions in fetal and neonatal deaths, focusing on the most important maternal clinical conditions in the pathway to fetal and neonatal deaths, such as maternal hypertension, antepartum hemorrhage, and decreased fetal growth.

Study Design: This was a prospective, observational cohort study conducted at 2 Asian sites. The data collected included clinical history, gross and histologic evaluations of the placenta, and several other investigations and were used to determine the cause of death. The placenta was evaluated at both sites using the Amsterdam consensus framework. We estimated the risk of placental maternal and fetal vascular malperfusions in fetal and neonatal deaths.

Results: Between July 2018 and January 2020 in India and Pakistan, 1633 women with placentas available for the study provided consent. Of these women, 814 had fetal deaths, 618 had preterm live births and subsequent neonatal deaths, and 201 had term live births. The prevalence of maternal vascular malperfusion was higher in the placentas associated with fetal deaths (58.4%) and preterm neonatal deaths (31.1%) than in the placentas associated with term live births (15.4%). Adjusting for site, maternal vascular malperfusion had a relative risk of 3.88 (95% confidence interval, 2.70-5.59) in fetal deaths vs term live births and a relative risk of 2.07 (95% confidence interval, 1.41-3.02) in preterm neonatal deaths vs term live births. Infarcts and distal villous hypoplasia were the most common histologic components of maternal vascular malperfusion. Compared with maternal vascular malperfusion (58.4%), fetal vascular malperfusion was less common in the placentas associated with fetal deaths (19.0%). However, there were higher frequencies of fetal vascular malperfusion in the placentas associated with fetal deaths (19.0%) than in placentas associated with neonatal deaths (8.3%) or term live birth (5.0%). Adjusting for site, fetal vascular malperfusion had a relative risk of 4.09 (95% confidence interval, 2.15-7.75) in fetal deaths vs term live births and a relative risk of 1.77 (95% confidence interval, 0.90-3.49) in preterm neonatal deaths vs term live births. Furthermore, there was a higher incidence of maternal vascular malperfusion in cases of maternal hypertension (71.4%), small for gestational age (69.9%), and antepartum hemorrhage (59.1%) than in cases of fetal deaths with none of these conditions (43.3%). There was no significant difference in the occurrence of fetal vascular malperfusion in the 4 clinical categories.

Conclusion: Histologic examination of the placenta, especially for malperfusion disorders, is crucial in elucidating pathways to fetal and neonatal deaths in preterm infants. In particular, focusing on placental maternal and fetal vascular malperfusions during pregnancy is a means to identify fetuses at risk of fetal death and is an important strategy to reduce the risk of fetal death early delivery. We hope that the increased risk of fetal and neonatal deaths in these pregnancies can be reduced by the development of an intervention that reduces the likelihood of developing maternal and fetal vascular malperfusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2021.06.001DOI Listing
June 2021

Safety of daily low-dose aspirin use during pregnancy in low-income and middle-income countries.

AJOG Glob Rep 2021 Feb 27;1(1). Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA (Drs Short and Derman); Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Christiana Care, Newark, DE (Dr Hoffman); KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belagavi, Karnataka, India (Drs Metgud, Kavi, and Goudar); Kinshasa School of Public Health, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Drs Okitawutshu and Tshefu); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC (Dr Bose); University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia (Drs Mwenechanya and Chomba); Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL (Dr Carlo); Instituto de Nutrición de Centro América y Panamá, Guatemala City, Guatemala (Drs Figueroa and Garces); University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO (Dr Krebs); Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan (Drs Jessani and Saleem); Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Columbia University, New York, NY (Dr Goldenberg); Lata Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur, India (Drs Das and Patel); Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA (Dr Hibbert); Department of Child Health and Paediatrics, Moi University School of Medicine, Eldoret, Kenya (Ms Achieng, Mr Nyongesa, and Dr Esamai); Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN (Dr Bucher); Research Triangle Institute International, Research Triangle Park, NC (Ms Nowak); Social, Statistical and Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Institute International, Research Triangle Park, NC (Mr Goco, and Drs Nolen and McClure); Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (Drs Koso-Thomas and Miodovnik).

Background: The daily use of low-dose aspirin may be a safe, widely available, and inexpensive intervention for reducing the risk of preterm birth. Data on the potential side effects of low-dose aspirin use during pregnancy in low- and middle-income countries are needed.

Objective: This study aimed to assess differences in unexpected emergency medical visits and potential maternal side effects from a randomized, double-blind, multicountry, placebo-controlled trial of low-dose aspirin use (81 mg daily, from 6 to 36 weeks' gestation).

Study Design: This study was a secondary analysis of data from the Aspirin Supplementation for Pregnancy Indicated Risk Reduction In Nulliparas trial, a trial of the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health conducted in India (2 sites), Pakistan, Guatemala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Zambia. The outcomes for this analysis were unexpected emergency medical visits and the occurrence of the following potential side effects-overall and separately-nausea, vomiting, rash or hives, diarrhea, gastritis, vaginal bleeding, allergic reaction, and any other potential side effects. Analyses were performed overall and by geographic region.

Results: Between the aspirin (n=5943) and placebo (n=5936) study groups, there was no statistically significant difference in the risk of unexpected emergency medical visits or the risk of any potential side effect (overall). Of the 8 potential side effects assessed, only 1 (rash or hives) presented a different risk by treatment group (4.2% in the aspirin group vs 3.5% in the placebo group; relative risk, 1.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.43; =.042).

Conclusion: The daily use of low-dose aspirin seems to be a safe intervention for reducing the risk of preterm birth and well tolerated by nulliparous pregnant women between 6 and 36 weeks' gestation in low- and middle-income countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xagr.2021.100003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8171270PMC
February 2021

Perceptions of women, their husbands and healthcare providers about anemia in rural Pakistan: Findings from a qualitative exploratory study.

PLoS One 2021 27;16(4):e0249360. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.

Background: In Pakistan, there is a dearth of literature on the perceptions of anemia among women of reproductive age (WRA). This study was undertaken to explore the perceptions of women, their husbands, and healthcare providers about anemia, its possible causes, and how anemia impacts maternal and child health in Thatta, Pakistan.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in Thatta, Pakistan from September to December 2018. Using a pre-tested semi-structured interview (SSI), we collected data to understand their definitions of anemia through ten focus group discussions (FGDs) with women and their partners and ten primary informant interviews (KIIs) with healthcare providers. We identified six major themes: (I) Knowledge and awareness of anemia, (II) Causes and consequences of Anemia, (III) Dietary practices, (IV) Knowledge and practices regarding the use of iron-folic acid supplements, (V) Factors influencing prevention and control of anemia and (VI) Women's health behavior. We analyzed the data through thematic analysis using NVivo 10 software.

Results: Most community members were not aware of the term anemia but described anemia as a condition characterized by 'blood deficiency' in the body. All study participants perceived anemia as an important health problem tending to cause adverse outcomes among WRA and their children. Study participants perceived gutka (chewable tobacco) consumption as an important cause of anemia. Healthcare providers identified short inter-pregnancy intervals, lack of family planning, poor health-seeking behavior, and consumption of unhealthy food as causes of anemia in the district. Consumption of unhealthy food might not be related to related to a poorer knowledge of iron-deficient foods, but economic constraints. This was further endorsed by the healthcare providers who mentioned that most women were too poor to afford iron-rich foods. All men and women were generally well versed with the sources of good nutrition to be consumed by WRA to prevent anemia.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that the government should plan to develop strategies for poverty-stricken and vulnerable rural women and plan health awareness programs to improve dietary practices, compliance with supplements, and health-seeking behavior among women of reproductive age. There is a need to develop effective counseling strategies and context-specific health education sessions to improve the health-seeking behavior of women and men in the Thatta district of Pakistan. Besides, there is need to address social determinants of health such as poverty that pushes women of poorer socioeconomic strata to eat less nutritious foods and have more anaemia. Therefore, a comprehensive and robust strategic plan need to be adopted by government that focuses not only on the awareness programs, but also aim to reduce inequities that lead to pregnant women eat iron-poor foods, which, in turn, forces them to become anemic.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249360PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078764PMC
September 2021

Gestational weight gain in 4 low- and middle-income countries and associations with birth outcomes: a secondary analysis of the Women First Trial.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 08;114(2):804-812

Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: Adequate gestational weight gain (GWG) is essential for healthy fetal growth. However, in low- and middle-income countries, where malnutrition is prevalent, little information is available about GWG and how it might be modified by nutritional status and interventions.

Objective: We describe GWG and its associations with fetal growth and birth outcomes. We also examined the extent to which prepregnancy BMI, and preconception and early weight gain modify GWG, and its effects on fetal growth.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of the Women First Trial, including 2331 women within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guatemala, India, and Pakistan, evaluating weight gain from enrollment to ∼12 weeks of gestation and GWG velocity (kg/wk) between ∼12 and 32 weeks of gestation. Adequacy of GWG velocity was compared with 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations, according to maternal BMI. Early weight gain (EWG), GWG velocity, and adequacy of GWG were related to birth outcomes using linear and Poisson models.

Results: GWG velocity (mean ± SD) varied by site: 0.22 ± 0.15 kg/wk in DRC, 0.30 ± 0.23 in Pakistan, 0.31 ± 0.14 in Guatemala, and 0.39 ± 0.13 in India, (P <0.0001). An increase of 0.1 kg/wk in maternal GWG was associated with a 0.13 cm (95% CI: 0.07, 0.18, P <0.001) increase in birth length and a 0.032 kg (0.022, 0.042, P <0.001) increase in birth weight. Compared to women with inadequate GWG, women who had adequate GWG delivered newborns with a higher mean length and weight: 47.98 ± 2.04 cm compared with 47.40 ± 2.17 cm (P <0.001) and 2.864 ± 0.425 kg compared with 2.764 ± 0.418 kg (P <0.001). Baseline BMI, EWG, and GWG were all associated with birth length and weight.

Conclusions: These results underscore the importance of adequate maternal nutrition both before and during pregnancy as a potentially modifiable factor to improve fetal growth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8326045PMC
August 2021

Antenatal Steroid Utilization in Ethiopia.

Glob Pediatr Health 2021 5;8:2333794X21990344. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Administration of antenatal corticosteroids to pregnant mothers is one of the most effective interventions to decrease preterm neonatal mortality. In this study we assessed antenatal steroid utilization by the mother and its effect on preterm babies. Two years prospective, multicenter, observational study was conducted in selected hospitals of Ethiopia. Significance of the study outcomes was tested by chi-square and binary logistic regression. Out of 4919 participants, 1575 preterm babies whose gestational ages were below 35 weeks were included in the study. Use of antenatal dexamethasone was 37.5% among study participants. The risk of early onset neonatal sepsis 235 (40.4%) was higher in preterm babies whose mother took antenatal dexamethasone (-value .002) than those who did not. Antenatal dexamethasone use in our study was comparable with other low and middle-income countries. Risk of early onset neonatal sepsis was higher among infants whose mother took antenatal dexamethasone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2333794X21990344DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7868499PMC
February 2021

Have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Community Lockdowns Reduced Preterm Birth Rates?

Obstet Gynecol 2021 03;137(3):399-402

Dr. Goldenberg is from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University, New York, New York. Dr. McClure is from the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Research Triangle Institute, Durham, North Carolina; email:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000004302DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884083PMC
March 2021

Hyperbilirubinemia in Preterm Infants Admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Ethiopia.

Glob Pediatr Health 2020 28;7:2333794X20985809. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

. Hyperbilirubinemia is prevalent and protracted in preterm infants. This study assessed the pattern of hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants in Ethiopia. . This study was part of multi-centered prospective, cross-sectional, observational study that determined causes of death among preterm infants. Jaundice was first identified based on clinical visual assessment. Venous blood was then sent for total and direct serum bilirubin level measurements. For this study, a total serum bilirubin level ≥5 mg/dL was taken as the cutoff point to diagnose hyperbilirubinemia. Based on the bilirubin level and clinical findings, the final diagnoses of hyperbilirubinemia and associated complications were made by the physician. . A total of 4919 preterm infants were enrolled into the overall study, and 3852 were admitted to one of the study's newborn intensive care units. Of these, 1779 (46.2%) infants were diagnosed with hyperbilirubinemia. Ten of these (0.6%) developed acute bilirubin encephalopathy. The prevalence of hyperbilirubinemia was 66.7% among the infants who were less than 28 weeks of gestation who survived. Rh incompatibility ( = .002), ABO incompatibility ( = .0001), and sepsis ( = .0001) were significantly associated with hyperbilirubinemia. Perinatal asphyxia (-value = 0.0001) was negatively associated with hyperbilirubinemia. The prevalence of hyperbilirubinemia in preterm babies admitted to neonatal care units in Ethiopia was high. The major risk factors associated with hyperbilirubinemia in preterm babies in this study were found to be ABO incompatibility, sepsis, and Rh isoimmunization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2333794X20985809DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7783876PMC
December 2020

Regional trends in birth weight in low- and middle-income countries 2013-2018.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):176. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Moi University School of Medicine, Eldoret, Kenya.

Background: Birth weight (BW) is a strong predictor of neonatal outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare BWs between global regions (south Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America) prospectively and to determine if trends exist in BW over time using the population-based maternal and newborn registry (MNHR) of the Global Network for Women'sand Children's Health Research (Global Network).

Methods: The MNHR is a prospective observational population-based registryof six research sites participating in the Global Network (2013-2018), within five low- and middle-income countries (Kenya, Zambia, India, Pakistan, and Guatemala) in threeglobal regions (sub-Saharan Af rica, south Asia, Central America). The birth weights were obtained for all infants born during the study period. This was done either by abstracting from the infants' health facility records or from direct measurement by the registry staff for infants born at home. After controlling for demographic characteristics, mixed-effect regression models were utilized to examine regional differences in birth weights over time.

Results: The overall BW meanswere higher for the African sites (Zambia and Kenya), 3186 g (SD 463 g) in 2013 and 3149 g (SD 449 g) in 2018, ascompared to Asian sites (Belagavi and Nagpur, India and Pakistan), 2717 g (SD450 g) in 2013 and 2713 g (SD 452 g) in 2018. The Central American site (Guatemala) had a mean BW intermediate between the African and south Asian sites, 2928 g (SD 452) in 2013, and 2874 g (SD 448) in 2018. The low birth weight (LBW) incidence was highest in the south Asian sites (India and Pakistan) and lowest in the African sites (Kenya and Zambia). The size of regional differences varied somewhat over time with slight decreases in the gap in birth weights between the African and Asian sites and slight increases in the gap between the African and Central American sites.

Conclusions: Overall, BWmeans by global region did not change significantly over the 5-year study period. From 2013 to 2018, infants enrolled at the African sites demonstrated the highest BW means overall across the entire study period, particularly as compared to Asian sites. The incidence of LBW was highest in the Asian sites (India and Pakistan) compared to the African and Central American sites. Trial registration The study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov. ClinicalTrial.gov Trial Registration: NCT01073475.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01026-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745347PMC
December 2020

Association of parity with birthweight and neonatal death in five sites: The Global Network's Maternal Newborn Health Registry study.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):182. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO, USA.

Background: Nulliparity has been associated with lower birth weight (BW) and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, with most of the data coming from high-income countries. In this study, we examined birth weight for gestational age z-scores and neonatal (28-day) mortality in a large prospective cohort of women dated by first trimester ultrasound from multiple sites in low and middle-income countries.

Methods: Pregnant women were recruited during the first trimester of pregnancy and followed through 6 weeks postpartum from Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR) sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guatemala, Belagavi and Nagpur, India, and Pakistan from 2017 and 2018. Data related to the pregnancy and its outcomes were collected prospectively. First trimester ultrasound was used for determination of gestational age; (BW) was obtained in grams within 48 h of delivery and later transformed to weight for age z-scores (WAZ) adjusted for gestational age using the INTERGROWTH-21st standards.

Results: 15,121 women were eligible and included. Infants of nulliparous women had lower mean BWs (males: 2676 gr, females: 2587 gr, total: 2634 gr) and gestational age adjusted weight for age z-scores (males: - 0.73, females: - 0.77, total: - 0.75,) than women with one or more previous pregnancies. The largest differences were between zero and one previous pregnancies among female infants. The associations of parity with BW and z-scores remained even after adjustment for maternal age, maternal height, maternal education, antenatal care visits, hypertensive disorders, and socioeconomic status. Nulliparous women also had a significantly higher < 28-day neonatal mortality rate (27.7 per 1,000 live births) than parous women (17.2 and 20.7 for parity of 1-3 and ≥ 4 respectively). Risk of preterm birth was higher among women with ≥ 4 previous pregnancies (15.5%) compared to 11.3% for the nulliparous group and 11.8% for women with one to three previous pregnancies (p = 0.0072).

Conclusions: In this large sample from diverse settings, nulliparity was independently associated with both lower BW and WAZ scores as well as higher neonatal mortality compared to multiparity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01025-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745358PMC
December 2020

Development of the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research's socioeconomic status index for use in the network's sites in low and lower middle-income countries.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):193. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Socioeconomic status (SES) is an important determinant of health globally and an important explanatory variable to assess causality in epidemiological research. The 10th Sustainable Development Goal is to reduce disparities in SES that impact health outcomes globally. It is easier to study SES in high-income countries because household income is representative of the SES. However, it is well recognized that income is poorly reported in low- and middle- income countries (LMIC) and is an unreliable indicator of SES. Therefore, there is a need for a robust index that will help to discriminate the SES of rural households in a pooled dataset from LMIC.

Methods: The study was nested in the population-based Maternal and Neonatal Health Registry of the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research which has 7 rural sites in 6 Asian, sub-Saharan African and Central American countries. Pregnant women enrolling in the Registry were asked questions about items such as housing conditions and household assets. The characteristics of the candidate items were evaluated using confirmatory factor analyses and item response theory analyses. Based on the results of these analyses, a final set of items were selected for the SES index.

Results: Using data from 49,536 households of pregnant women, we reduced the data collected to a 10-item index. The 10 items were feasible to administer, covered the SES continuum and had good internal reliability and validity. We developed a sum score-based Item Response Theory scoring algorithm which is easy to compute and is highly correlated with scores based on response patterns (r = 0.97), suggesting minimal loss of information with the simplified approach. Scores varied significantly by site (p < 0.001). African sites had lower mean SES scores than the Asian and Central American sites. The SES index demonstrated good internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.81). Higher SES scores were significantly associated with formal education, more education, having received antenatal care, and facility delivery (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: While measuring SES in LMIC is challenging, we have developed a Global Network Socioeconomic Status Index which may be useful for comparisons of SES within and between locations. Next steps include understanding how the index is associated with maternal, perinatal and neonatal mortality. Trial Registration NCT01073475 Socioeconomic status (SES) is an important determinant of health globally, and improving SES is important to reduce disparities in health outcomes. It is easier to study SES in high-income countries because it can be measured by income and what income is spent on, but this concept does not translate easily to low and middle income countries. We developed a questionnaire that includes 10 items to determine SES in low-resource settings that was added to an ongoing Maternal and Neonatal Health Registry that is funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development's Global Network. The Registry includes sites that collect outcomes of pregnancies in women and their babies in rural areas in 6 countries in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. The Registry is population based and tracks women from early in pregnancy to day 42 post-partum. The questionnaire is easy to administer and has good reliability and validity. Next steps include understanding how the index is associated with maternal, fetal and neonatal mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01034-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745356PMC
December 2020

Gender variations in neonatal and early infant mortality in India and Pakistan: a secondary analysis from the Global Network Maternal Newborn Health Registry.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):178. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: To determine the gender differences in neonatal mortality, stillbirths, and perinatal mortality in south Asia using the Global Network data from the Maternal Newborn Health Registry.

Methods: This study is a secondary analysis of prospectively collected data from the three south Asian sites of the Global Network. The maternal and neonatal demographic, clinical characteristics, rates of stillbirths, early neonatal mortality (1-7 days), late neonatal mortality (8-28 days), mortality between 29-42 days and the number of infants hospitalized after birth were compared between the male and female infants.

Results: Between 2010 and 2018, 297,509 births [154,790 males (52.03%) and 142,719 females (47.97%)] from two Indian sites and one Pakistani site were included in the analysis [288,859 live births (97.1%) and 8,648 stillbirths (2.9%)]. The neonatal mortality rate was significantly higher in male infants (33.2/1,000 live births) compared to their female counterparts (27.4/1,000, p < 0.001). The rates of stillbirths (31.0 vs. 26.9/1000 births) and early neonatal mortality (27.1 vs 21.6/1000 live births) were also higher in males. However, there were no significant differences in late neonatal mortality (6.3 vs. 5.9/1000 live births) and mortality between 29-42 days (2.1 vs. 1.9/1000 live births) between the two groups. More male infants were hospitalized within 42 days after birth (1.8/1000 vs. 1.3/1000 live births, p < 0.001) than females.

Conclusion: The risks of stillbirths, and early neonatal mortality were higher among male infants than their female counterparts. However, there was no gender difference in mortality after 7 days of age. Our results highlight the importance of stratifying neonatal mortality into early and late neonatal period to better understand the impact of gender on neonatal mortality. The information from this study will help in developing strategies and identifying measures that can reduce differences in sex-specific mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01028-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745348PMC
December 2020

Rates and risk factors for preterm birth and low birthweight in the global network sites in six low- and low middle-income countries.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):187. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Preterm birth continues to be a major public health problem contributing to 75% of the neonatal mortality worldwide. Low birth weight (LBW) is an important but imperfect surrogate for prematurity when accurate assessment of gestational age is not possible. While there is overlap between preterm birth and LBW newborns, those that are both premature and LBW are at the highest risk of adverse neonatal outcomes. Understanding the epidemiology of preterm birth and LBW is important for prevention and improved care for at risk newborns, but in many countries, data are sparse and incomplete.

Methods: We conducted data analyses using the Global Network's (GN) population-based registry of pregnant women and their babies in rural communities in six low- and middle-income countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zambia, Guatemala, India and Pakistan). We analyzed data from January 2014 to December 2018. Trained study staff enrolled all pregnant women in the study catchment area as early as possible during pregnancy and conducted follow-up visits shortly after delivery and at 42 days after delivery. We analyzed the rates of preterm birth, LBW and the combination of preterm birth and LBW and studied risk factors associated with these outcomes across the GN sites.

Results: A total of 272,192 live births were included in the analysis. The overall preterm birth rate was 12.6% (ranging from 8.6% in Belagavi, India to 21.8% in the Pakistani site). The overall LBW rate was 13.6% (ranging from 2.7% in the Kenyan site to 21.4% in the Pakistani site). The overall rate of both preterm birth and LBW was 5.5% (ranging from 1.2% in the Kenyan site to 11.0% in the Pakistani site). Risk factors associated with preterm birth, LBW and the combination were similar across sites and included nulliparity [RR - 1.27 (95% CI 1.21-1.33)], maternal age under 20 [RR 1.41 (95% CI 1.32-1.49)] years, severe antenatal hemorrhage [RR 5.18 95% CI 4.44-6.04)], hypertensive disorders [RR 2.74 (95% CI - 1.21-1.33], and 1-3 antenatal visits versus four or more [RR 1.68 (95% CI 1.55-1.83)].

Conclusions: Preterm birth, LBW and their combination continue to be common public health problems at some of the GN sites, particularly among young, nulliparous women who have received limited antenatal care services. Trial registration The identifier of the Maternal and Newborn Health Registry at ClinicalTrials.gov is NCT01073475.

Trial Registration: The identifier of the Maternal and Newborn Health Registry at ClinicalTrials.gov is NCT01073475.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01029-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745351PMC
December 2020

Cesarean birth in the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research: trends in utilization, risk factors, and subgroups with high cesarean birth rates.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):165. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: The objectives of this analysis were to document trends in and risk factors associated with the cesarean birth rate in low- and middle-income country sites participating in the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research (Global Network).

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a prospective, population-based study of home and facility births conducted in the Global Network sites.

Results: Cesarean birth rates increased uniformly across all sites between 2010 and 2018. Across all sites in multivariable analyses, women younger than age twenty had a reduced risk of cesarean birth (RR 0.9 [0.9, 0.9]) and women over 35 had an increased risk of cesarean birth (RR 1.1 [1.1, 1.1]) compared to women aged 20 to 35. Compared to women with a parity of three or more, less parous women had an increased risk of cesarean (RR 1.2 or greater [1.2, 1.4]). Four or more antenatal visits (RR 1.2 [1.2, 1.3]), multiple pregnancy (RR 1.3 [1.3, 1.4]), abnormal progress in labor (RR 1.1 [1.0, 1.1]), antepartum hemorrhage (RR 2.3 [2.0, 2.7]), and hypertensive disease (RR 1.6 [1.5, 1.7]) were all associated with an increased risk of cesarean birth, p < 0.001. For multiparous women with a history of prior cesarean birth, rates of vaginal birth after cesarean were about 20% in the Latin American and Southeast Asian sites and about 84% at the sub-Saharan African sites. In the African sites, proportions of cesarean birth in the study were highest among women without a prior cesarean and a single, cephalic, term pregnancy. In the non-African sites, groups with the greatest proportion of cesarean births were nulliparous women with a single, cephalic, term pregnancy and all multiparous women with at least one previous uterine scar with a term, cephalic pregnancy.

Conclusion: Cesarean birth rates continue to rise within the Global Network. The proportions of cesarean birth are higher among women with no history of cesarean birth in the African sites and among women with primary elective cesarean, primary cesarean after induction, and repeat cesarean in the non-African sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01021-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745346PMC
December 2020

Maternal mortality in six low and lower-middle income countries from 2010 to 2018: risk factors and trends.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):173. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, 101 Manning Drive, CB 7596, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7596, USA.

Background: Maternal mortality is a public health problem that disproportionately affects low and lower-middle income countries (LMICs). Appropriate data sources are lacking to effectively track maternal mortality and monitor changes in this health indicator over time.

Methods: We analyzed data from women enrolled in the NICHD Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR) from 2010 through 2018. Women delivering within research sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India (Nagpur and Belagavi), Kenya, Pakistan, and Zambia are included. We evaluated maternal and delivery characteristics using log-binomial models and multivariable models to obtain relative risk estimates for mortality. We used running averages to track maternal mortality ratio (MMR, maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) over time.

Results: We evaluated 571,321 pregnancies and 842 maternal deaths. We observed an MMR of 157 / 100,000 live births (95% CI 147, 167) across all sites, with a range of MMRs from 97 (76, 118) in the Guatemala site to 327 (293, 361) in the Pakistan site. When adjusted for maternal risk factors, risks of maternal mortality were higher with maternal age > 35 (RR 1.43 (1.06, 1.92)), no maternal education (RR 3.40 (2.08, 5.55)), lower education (RR 2.46 (1.54, 3.94)), nulliparity (RR 1.24 (1.01, 1.52)) and parity > 2 (RR 1.48 (1.15, 1.89)). Increased risk of maternal mortality was also associated with occurrence of obstructed labor (RR 1.58 (1.14, 2.19)), severe antepartum hemorrhage (RR 2.59 (1.83, 3.66)) and hypertensive disorders (RR 6.87 (5.05, 9.34)). Before and after adjusting for other characteristics, physician attendance at delivery, delivery in hospital and Caesarean delivery were associated with increased risk. We observed variable changes over time in the MMR within sites.

Conclusions: The MNHR is a useful tool for tracking MMRs in these LMICs. We identified maternal and delivery characteristics associated with increased risk of death, some might be confounded by indication. Despite declines in MMR in some sites, all sites had an MMR higher than the Sustainable Development Goals target of below 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Trial Registration: The MNHR is registered at NCT01073475 .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-00990-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745363PMC
December 2020

Institutional deliveries and stillbirth and neonatal mortality in the Global Network's Maternal and Newborn Health Registry.

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):179. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: Few studies have shown how the move toward institutional delivery in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) impacts stillbirth and newborn mortality.

Objectives: The study evaluated trends in institutional delivery in research sites in Belagavi and Nagpur India, Guatemala, Kenya, Pakistan, and Zambia from 2010 to 2018 and compared them to changes in the rates of neonatal mortality and stillbirth.

Methods: We analyzed data from a nine-year interval captured in the Global Network (GN) Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR). Mortality rates were estimated from generalized estimating equations controlling for within-cluster correlation. Cluster-level analyses were performed to assess the association between institutional delivery and mortality rates.

Results: From 2010 to 2018, a total of 413,377 deliveries in 80 clusters across 6 sites in 5 countries were included in these analyses. An increase in the proportion of institutional deliveries occurred in all sites, with a range in 2018 from 57.7 to 99.8%. In 2010, the stillbirth rates ranged from 19.3 per 1000 births in the Kenyan site to 46.2 per 1000 births in the Pakistani site and by 2018, ranged from 9.7 per 1000 births in the Belagavi, India site to 40.8 per 1000 births in the Pakistani site. The 2010 neonatal mortality rates ranged from 19.0 per 1000 live births in the Kenyan site to 51.3 per 1000 live births in the Pakistani site with the 2018 neonatal mortality rates ranging from 9.2 per 1000 live births in the Zambian site to 50.2 per 1000 live births in the Pakistani site. In multivariate modeling, in some but not all sites, the reductions in stillbirth and neonatal death were significantly associated with an increase in the institutional deliveries.

Conclusions: There was an increase in institutional delivery rates in all sites and a reduction in stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates in some of the GN sites over the past decade. The relationship between institutional delivery and a decrease in mortality was significant in some but not all sites. However, the stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates remain at high levels. Understanding the relationship between institutional delivery and stillbirth and neonatal deaths in resource-limited environments will enable development of targeted interventions for reducing the mortality burden.

Trial Registration: The study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov . ClinicalTrial.gov Trial Registration: NCT01073475 .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01001-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745350PMC
December 2020

Why are the Pakistani maternal, fetal and newborn outcomes so poor compared to other low and middle-income countries?

Reprod Health 2020 Dec 17;17(Suppl 3):190. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Pakistan has among the poorest pregnancy outcomes worldwide, significantly worse than many other low-resource countries. The reasons for these differences are not clear. In this study, we compared pregnancy outcomes in Pakistan to other low-resource countries and explored factors that might help explain these differences.

Methods: The Global Network (GN) Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR) is a prospective, population-based observational study that includes all pregnant women and their pregnancy outcomes in defined geographic communities in six low-middle income countries (India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Kenya, Zambia). Study staff enroll women in early pregnancy and follow-up soon after delivery and at 42 days to ascertain delivery, neonatal, and maternal outcomes. We analyzed the maternal mortality ratios (MMR), neonatal mortality rates (NMR), stillbirth rates, and potential explanatory factors from 2010 to 2018 across the GN sites.

Results: From 2010 to 2018, there were 91,076 births in Pakistan and 456,276 births in the other GN sites combined. The MMR in Pakistan was 319 per 100,000 live births compared to an average of 124 in the other sites, while the Pakistan NMR was 49.4 per 1,000 live births compared to 20.4 in the other sites. The stillbirth rate in Pakistan was 53.5 per 1000 births compared to 23.2 for the other sites. Preterm birth and low birthweight rates were also substantially higher than the other sites combined. Within weight ranges, the Pakistani site generally had significantly higher rates of stillbirth and neonatal mortality than the other sites combined, with differences increasing as birthweights increased. By nearly every measure, medical care for pregnant women and their newborns in the Pakistan sites was worse than at the other sites combined.

Conclusion: The Pakistani pregnancy outcomes are much worse than those in the other GN sites. Reasons for these poorer outcomes likely include that the Pakistani sites' reproductive-aged women are largely poorly educated, undernourished, anemic, and deliver a high percentage of preterm and low-birthweight babies in settings of often inadequate maternal and newborn care. By addressing the issues highlighted in this paper there appears to be substantial room for improvements in Pakistan's pregnancy outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01023-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745345PMC
December 2020

Relationship Between Foot Length and Gestational Age in Pakistan.

Glob Pediatr Health 2020 20;7:2333794X20974206. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.

Preterm births have a high risk of mortality. Therefore, knowledge of the gestational age (GA) at birth is crucial to guide the appropriate management of a newborn. Common methods for estimating GA such as the last menstrual period, ultrasonography, and post-natal Ballard scoring have some limitations. This study aimed to determine the relationship between foot length and GA to develop and validate an equation for predicting GA of Pakistani newborns. We conducted a prospective study in a large obstetric hospital in Pakistan. Data for this analysis were extracted from the hospital files of eligible women by trained study midwives. Midwives were also trained in performing the Ballard examination and taking foot length using a disposable measuring tape within an hour of the birth. The GA was calculated using an android-based GA calculator. Simple and multiple linear regression were used to construct predicting equations for GA. Both the foot length and GA were available for 1542 cases. The median GA was 34.5 (IQR 4.7) weeks and the median foot length was 7 cm (IQR 1.4). There was a positive linear relationship between foot length and GA ( 81.7%, -value < .001). Stratified analysis showed an of 81.7% for males and 81.6% for females. The for stillbirths was 84.1% and, 82.3% for live births. The for macerated stillbirths was 88.6% and 90.6% for fresh stillbirths. In resource poor settings, the use of foot length can estimate GA in both live births and stillbirths and can easily identify preterm infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2333794X20974206DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7683835PMC
November 2020

Disparity in Birth Size of Ethiopian Preterm Infants in Comparison to International INTERGROWTH-21st Data.

Glob Pediatr Health 2020 20;7:2333794X20973484. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

. Patterns of fetal growth are largely influenced by environmental, nutritional, and socioeconomic factors more than differences in populations. The aim of this study was to assess anthropometric measurements of Ethiopian preterm infants at birth and compare the results with the international INTERGROWTH-21st data. We analyzed anthropometric data on live-born singleton preterm infants enrolled in a hospital-based multicenter study of illness in preterm infants (SIP). Eligible newborns with gestational age of 28-36 weeks were included. Gestational age (GA) and sex-specific mean and standard deviations (SD), 10th, 50th, 90th, centile values for birth weight, length and head circumference (HC) were calculated and compared with INTERGROWTH-21st data. . A total of 2763 preterm infants were included in the study, 54% were male. The prevalence of small for GA (SGA) (<10th percentile) and large for GA (LGA) (>90th percentile) were 10.8% and 9.9%, respectively. In all 3 parameters, the mean values of boys were higher than of girls. Birth weight centiles were comparable to international averages at lower GA, then after GA of 32 weeks the 10th, 50th, and 90th centile values were 100-500 g less than the international averages. The head circumference centiles were mostly comparable, and the 90th centile values were greater than the international averages across the GA and in both sexes. The infants' birth weights were smaller at higher GA, which may indicate maternal undernutrition in the third trimester of pregnancy. Strengthening antenatal nutrition counseling and providing nutrition supplementation might improve the birth weight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2333794X20973484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7684671PMC
November 2020

Factors Associated with the Death of Preterm Babies Admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Ethiopia: A Prospective, Cross-sectional, and Observational Study.

Glob Pediatr Health 2020 2;7:2333794X20970005. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA, USA.

To determine the risk factors for death among preterm neonates. . The data set used was derived from a prospective, multi-center, observational clinical study conducted in 5 tertiary hospitals in Ethiopia from July, 2016 to May, 2018. Subjects were infants admitted into neonatal intensive care unit. Risk factors were determined using statistical model developed for this study. The mean gestational age was 32.87 (SD ± 2.42) weeks with a range of 20 to 36 weeks. There were 2667 (70.69%) survivors and 1106 (29.31%) deaths. The significant risk factors for preterm death were low gestational age, low birth weight, being female, feeding problem, no antenatal care visits and vaginal delivery among mothers with higher educational level. The study identified several risk factors for death among preterm neonates. Most of the risk factors are preventable. Thus, it is important to address neonatal and maternal factors identified in this study through appropriate ANC and optimum infant medical care and feeding practices to decrease the high rate of preterm death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2333794X20970005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689001PMC
November 2020

The relationship between birth intervals and adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes in six low and lower-middle income countries.

Reprod Health 2020 Nov 30;17(Suppl 2):157. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, 101 Manning Drive, Chapel Hill, NC, CB 7596, USA.

Background: Due to high fertility rates in some low and lower-middle income countries, the interval between pregnancies can be short, which may lead to adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Methods: We analyzed data from women enrolled in the NICHD Global Network Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR) from 2013 through 2018. We report maternal characteristics and outcomes in relationship to the inter-delivery interval (IDI, time from previous delivery [live or stillborn] to the delivery of the index birth), by category of 6-17 months (short), 18-36 months (reference), 37-60 months, and 61-180 months (long). We used non-parametric tests for maternal characteristics, and multivariable logistic regression models for outcomes, controlling for differences in baseline characteristics.

Results: We evaluated 181,782 women from sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Kenya, Guatemala, India, and Pakistan. Women with short IDI varied by site, from 3% in the Zambia site to 20% in the Pakistan site. Relative to a 18-36 month IDI, women with short IDI had increased risk of neonatal death (RR = 1.89 [1.74, 2.05]), stillbirth (RR = 1.70 [1.56, 1.86]), low birth weight (RR = 1.38 [1.32, 1.44]), and very low birth weight (RR = 2.35 [2.10, 2.62]). Relative to a 18-36 month IDI, women with IDI of 37-60 months had an increased risk of maternal death (RR 1.40 [1.05, 1.88]), stillbirth (RR 1.14 [1.08, 1.22]), and very low birth weight (RR 1.10 [1.01, 1.21]). Relative to a 18-36 month IDI, women with long IDI had increased risk of maternal death (RR 1.54 [1.10, 2.16]), neonatal death (RR = 1.25 [1.14, 1.38]), stillbirth (RR = 1.50 [1.38, 1.62]), low birth weight (RR = 1.22 [1.17, 1.27]), and very low birth weight (RR = 1.47 [1.32,1.64]). Short and long IDIs were also associated with increased risk of obstructed labor, hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders, fetal malposition, infection, hospitalization, preterm delivery, and neonatal hospitalization.

Conclusions: IDI varies by site. When compared to 18-36 month IDI, women with both short IDI and long IDI had increased risk of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Trial Registration: The MNHR is registered at NCT01073475 .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01008-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7708104PMC
November 2020

Stillbirth 2010-2018: a prospective, population-based, multi-country study from the Global Network.

Reprod Health 2020 Nov 30;17(Suppl 2):146. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Stillbirth rates are high and represent a substantial proportion of the under-5 mortality in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). In LMIC, where nearly 98% of stillbirths worldwide occur, few population-based studies have documented cause of stillbirths or the trends in rate of stillbirth over time.

Methods: We undertook a prospective, population-based multi-country research study of all pregnant women in defined geographic areas across 7 sites in low-resource settings (Kenya, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Pakistan, and Guatemala). Staff collected demographic and health care characteristics with outcomes obtained at delivery. Cause of stillbirth was assigned by algorithm.

Results: From 2010 through 2018, 573,148 women were enrolled with delivery data obtained. Of the 552,547 births that reached 500 g or 20 weeks gestation, 15,604 were stillbirths; a rate of 28.2 stillbirths per 1000 births. The stillbirth rates were 19.3 in the Guatemala site, 23.8 in the African sites, and 33.3 in the Asian sites. Specifically, stillbirth rates were highest in the Pakistan site, which also documented a substantial decrease in stillbirth rates over the study period, from 56.0 per 1000 (95% CI 51.0, 61.0) in 2010 to 44.4 per 1000 (95% CI 39.1, 49.7) in 2018. The Nagpur, India site also documented a substantial decrease in stillbirths from 32.5 (95% CI 29.0, 36.1) to 16.9 (95% CI 13.9, 19.9) per 1000 in 2018; however, other sites had only small declines in stillbirth over the same period. Women who were less educated and older as well as those with less access to antenatal care and with vaginal assisted delivery were at increased risk of stillbirth. The major fetal causes of stillbirth were birth asphyxia (44.0% of stillbirths) and infectious causes (22.2%). The maternal conditions that were observed among those with stillbirth were obstructed or prolonged labor, antepartum hemorrhage and maternal infections.

Conclusions: Over the study period, stillbirth rates have remained relatively high across all sites. With the exceptions of the Pakistan and Nagpur sites, Global Network sites did not observe substantial changes in their stillbirth rates. Women who were less educated and had less access to antenatal and obstetric care remained at the highest burden of stillbirth.

Study Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov (ID# NCT01073475).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-00991-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7706249PMC
November 2020

Neonatal deaths in infants born weighing ≥ 2500 g in low and middle-income countries.

Reprod Health 2020 Nov 30;17(Suppl 2):158. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Babies born weighing ≥ 2500 g account for more than 80% of the births in most resource-limited locations and for nearly 50% of the 28-day neonatal deaths. In contrast, in high-resource settings, 28-day neonatal mortality among this group represents only a small fraction of the neonatal deaths. Yet mortality risks for birth weight of ≥ 2500 g is limited. Knowledge regarding the factors associated with mortality in these babies will help in identifying interventions that can reduce mortality.

Methods: The Global Network's Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR) is a prospective, population-based observational study that includes all pregnant women and their pregnancy outcomes in defined geographic communities that has been conducted in research sites in six low-middle income countries (India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Kenya and Zambia). Study staff enroll all pregnant women as early as possible during pregnancy and conduct follow-up visits to ascertain delivery and 28-day neonatal outcomes. We analyzed the neonatal mortality rates (NMR) and risk factors for deaths by 28 days among all live-born babies with a birthweight ≥ 2500 g from 2010 to 2018 across the Global Network sites.

Results: Babies born in the Global Network sites from 2010 to 2018 with a birthweight ≥ 2500 g accounted for 84.8% of the births and 45.4% of the 28-day neonatal deaths. Among this group, the overall NMR was 13.1/1000 live births. The overall 28-day NMR for ongoing clusters was highest in Pakistan (29.7/1000 live births) and lowest in the Zambian/Kenyan sites (9.3/1000) for ≥ 2500 g infants. ≥ 2500 g NMRs declined for Zambia/Kenya and India. For Pakistan and Guatemala, the NMR remained almost unchanged over the period. The ≥ 2500 g risks related to maternal, delivery and newborn characteristics varied by site. Maternal factors that increased risk and were common for all sites included nulliparity, hypertensive disease, previous stillbirth, maternal death, obstructed labor, severe postpartum hemorrhage, and abnormal fetal presentation. Neonatal characteristics including resuscitation, hospitalization, congenital anomalies and male sex, as well as lower gestational ages and birthweights were also associated with increased mortality.

Conclusions: Nearly half of neonatal deaths in the Global Network sites occurred in infants born weighing ≥ 2500 g. The NMR for those infants was 13.1 per 1000 live births, much higher than rates usually seen in high-income countries. The changes in NMR over time varied across the sites. Even among babies born ≥ 2500 g, lower gestational age and birthweight were largely associated with increased risk of mortality. Since many of these deaths should be preventable, attention to preventing mortality in these infants should have an important impact on overall NMR.

Trial Registration: https://ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01073475.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01013-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7706246PMC
November 2020

Neonatal deaths in rural Karnataka, India 2014-2018: a prospective population-based observational study in a low-resource setting.

Reprod Health 2020 Nov 30;17(Suppl 2):161. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Women's and Children's Health Research Unit JN Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research Belagavi, Belagavi, Karnataka, India.

Background: Neonatal mortality causes a substantial proportion of the under-5 mortality in low and middle-income countries (LMIC).

Methods: We undertook a prospective, population-based research study of pregnant women residing in defined geographic areas in the Karnataka State of India, a research site of the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research. Study staff collected demographic and health care characteristics on eligible women enrolled with neonatal outcomes obtained at delivery and day 28. Cause of neonatal mortality at day 28 was assigned by algorithm using prospectively defined variables.

Results: From 2014 to 2018, the neonatal mortality rate was 24.5 per 1,000 live births. The cause of the 28-day neonatal deaths was attributed to prematurity (27.9%), birth asphyxia (25.1%), infection (23.7%) and congenital anomalies (18.4%). Four or more antenatal care (ANC) visits was associated with a lower risk of neonatal death compared to fewer ANC visits. In the adjusted model, compared to liveborn infants ≥ 2500 g, infants born weighing < 1000 g RR for mortality was 25.6 (95%CI 18.3, 36.0), for 1000-1499 g infants the RR was 19.8 (95% CI 14.2, 27.5) and for 1500-2499 g infants the RR was 3.1 (95% CI 2.7, 3.6). However, more than one-third (36.8%) of the deaths occurred among infants with a birthweight ≥ 2500 g. Infants born preterm (< 37 weeks) were also at higher risk for 28-day mortality (RR 7.9, 95% CI 6.9, 9.0) compared to infants ≥ 37 weeks. A one-week decrease in gestational age at delivery was associated with a higher risk of mortality with a RR of 1.3 (95% CI 1.3, 1.3). More than 70% of all the deliveries occurred at a hospital. Among infants who died, 50.3% of the infants had received bag/mask ventilation, 47.3% received antibiotics, and 55.6% received oxygen.

Conclusions: Consistent with prior research, the study found that infants who were preterm and low-birth weight remained at highest risk for 28-day neonatal mortality in India. Although most of births now occur within health facilities, a substantial proportion are not receiving basic life-saving interventions. Further efforts to understand the impact of care on infant outcomes are needed. Study registration The trial is registered at clinicaltrials.gov. ClinicalTrial.gov Trial Registration: NCT01073475.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01014-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7708103PMC
November 2020

Prevalence of clinically-evident congenital anomalies in the Western highlands of Guatemala.

Reprod Health 2020 Nov 30;17(Suppl 2):153. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA.

Background: Congenital anomalies are a significant cause of death and disability for infants, especially in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), where 95% of all deaths due to anomalies occur. Limited data on the prevalence and survival of infants with congenital anomalies are available from Central America. Estimates have indicated that 53 of every 10,000 live births in Guatemala are associated with a congenital anomaly. We aim to report on the incidence and survival of infants with congenital anomalies from a population-based registry and classify the anomalies according to the International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision (ICD-10).

Methods: We conducted a planned secondary analysis of data from the Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR), a prospective, population-based study carried out by the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research in seven research sites. We included all deliveries between 2014 and 2018 in urban and rural settings in Chimaltenango, in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. These cases of clinically evident anomalies were reported by field staff and reviewed by medically trained staff, who classified them according to ICD - 10 categories. The incidence of congenital anomalies and associated stillbirth, neonatal mortality, and survival rates were determined for up to 42 days.

Results: Out of 60,142 births, 384 infants were found to have a clinically evident congenital anomaly (63.8 per 10,000 births). The most common were anomalies of the nervous system (28.8 per 10,000), malformations and deformations of the musculoskeletal system (10.8 per 10,000), and cleft lip and palate (10.0 per 10,000). Infants born with nervous system anomalies had the highest stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates (14.6 and 9.0 per 10,000, respectively).

Conclusions: This is the first population-based report on congenital anomalies in Guatemala. The rates we found of overall anomalies are higher than previously reported estimates. These data will be useful to increase the focus on congenital anomalies and hopefully increase the use of interventions of proven benefit.

Trial Registration: ClinalTrial.gov ID: NCT01073475 .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01007-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7708098PMC
November 2020

Hemoglobin concentrations and adverse birth outcomes in South Asian pregnant women: findings from a prospective Maternal and Neonatal Health Registry.

Reprod Health 2020 Nov 30;17(Suppl 2):154. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Background: While the relationship between hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations and pregnancy outcomes has been studied often, most reports have focused on a specific Hb cutoff used to define anemia. Fewer studies have evaluated pregnancy outcomes across the entire range of Hb values. Moreover, to date, most studies of the relationship of Hb concentrations to pregnancy outcomes have been done in high-income countries. Thus, we have sought to determine the relationship between the range of maternal Hb concentrations and adverse birth outcomes among South Asian pregnant women.

Methods: For this study, we used data collected from two South Asian countries (Pakistan - Sindh Province and two sites in India - Belagavi and Nagpur) in a prospective maternal and newborn health registry study. To assess the association between Hb concentrations and various maternal and fetal outcomes, we classified the Hb concentrations into seven categories. Regression analyses adjusting for multiple potential confounders were performed to assess adverse pregnancy outcomes across the range of Hb concentrations.

Findings: Between January 2012 and December 2018, 130,888 pregnant women were enrolled in the South Asian sites had a Hb measurement available, delivered and were included in the analyses. Overall, the mean Hb concentration of pregnant women from the sites was 9.9 g/dL, 10.0 g/dL in the Indian sites and 9.5 g/dL in the Pakistan site. Hb concentrations < 7 g/dL were observed in 6.9% of the pregnant Pakistani women and 0.2% of the Indian women. In both the Pakistani and Indian sites, women with higher parity and women with no formal education had lower Hb concentrations. In the Pakistani site, women > 35 years of age, women with ≥4 children and those who enrolled in the third trimester were more likely to have Hb concentrations of < 7 g/dL but these associations were not found for the Indian sites. When adjusting for potential confounders, for both India and Pakistan, lower Hb concentrations were associated with stillbirth, preterm birth, lower mean birthweight, and increased risk of low birthweight. In the Pakistani site, there was evidence of a U-shaped relationship between Hb concentrations and low birth weight, and neonatal mortality, and in India with hypertensive disease.

Interpretation: This study documented the relationship between maternal Hb concentrations and adverse pregnancy outcomes in women from the Pakistani and Indian sites across the range of Hb values. Both low and high Hb concentrations were associated with risk of at least some adverse outcomes. Hence, both low and high values of Hb should be considered risk factors for the mother and fetus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01006-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7706196PMC
November 2020

The Global Network Maternal Newborn Health Registry: a multi-country, community-based registry of pregnancy outcomes.

Reprod Health 2020 Nov 30;17(Suppl 2):184. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: The Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research (Global Network) conducts clinical trials in resource-limited countries through partnerships among U.S. investigators, international investigators based in in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and a central data coordinating center. The Global Network's objectives include evaluating low-cost, sustainable interventions to improve women's and children's health in LMICs. Accurate reporting of births, stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal mortality, and measures of obstetric and neonatal care is critical to determine strategies for improving pregnancy outcomes. In response to this need, the Global Network developed the Maternal Newborn Health Registry (MNHR), a prospective, population-based registry of pregnant women, fetuses and neonates receiving care in defined catchment areas at the Global Network sites. This publication describes the MNHR, including participating sites, data management and quality and changes over time.

Methods: Pregnant women who reside in or receive healthcare in select communities are enrolled in the MNHR of the Global Network. For each woman and her offspring, sociodemographic, health care, and the major outcomes through 42-days post-delivery are recorded. Study visits occur at enrollment during pregnancy, at delivery and at 42 days postpartum.

Results: From 2010 through 2018, the Global Network MNHR sites were located in Guatemala, Belagavi and Nagpur, India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Zambia. During this period at these sites, 579,140 pregnant women were consented and enrolled in the MNHR, nearly 99% of all eligible women. Delivery data were collected for 99% of enrolled women and 42-day follow-up data for 99% of those delivered. In this supplement, the trends over time and assessment of differences across geographic regions are analyzed in a series of 18 manuscripts utilizing the MNHR data.

Conclusions: Improving maternal, fetal and newborn health in countries with poor outcomes requires an understanding of the characteristics of the population, quality of health care and outcomes. Because the worst pregnancy outcomes typically occur in countries with limited health registration systems and vital records, alternative registration systems may prove to be highly valuable in providing data. The MNHR, an international, multicenter, population-based registry, assesses pregnancy outcomes over time in support of efforts to develop improved perinatal healthcare in resource-limited areas. Trial Registration The Maternal Newborn Health Registry is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov (ID# NCT01073475). Registered February 23, 2019. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01073475.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-01020-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7708188PMC
November 2020

Maternal infection and stillbirth: a review.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2020 Nov 24:1-9. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Maternal infections likely are an important cause of stillbirths, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, where the burden is highest. Due to the lack of routine testing for infection, which can be complex and often expensive, the prevalence of infection during pregnancy and the association of many infections with stillbirth are not well-documented, especially in low-resource countries. Following an extensive literature review of infection and stillbirth initially published in 2010, we conducted a review of literature in the last 10 years to identify infections associated with stillbirth, focused on those in low-resource settings. During the last 10 years, over 40 bacterial, viral and other pathogens have been associated with stillbirth. Newly emerging viral infections such as Denge as well as several well-established, but not yet eliminated infections such as rubella have been associated with stillbirth. Two of the maternal infections most strongly associated with stillbirth, each with about a 2-fold risk, are malaria and syphilis but others have been associated with risk in a range of studies. With a lack of routine antenatal screening, many pathogens are identified as associated with stillbirth only through case reports. Infection remains an important, yet understudied, cause of stillbirth. Research studies to determine definitive associations between various infections and stillbirth are important to better understand the role of infections and strategies to reduce infection-related stillbirth. This review explores the association between infections and stillbirths focusing on low-income country studies published in the last 10 years. Much information about these relationships comes from case reports. Research resulting in a better understanding of the causes and strategies to reduce infection-related stillbirth is necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2020.1852206DOI Listing
November 2020

Predictive Modeling for Perinatal Mortality in Resource-Limited Settings.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 11 2;3(11):e2026750. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Importance: The overwhelming majority of fetal and neonatal deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Fetal and neonatal risk assessment tools may be useful to predict the risk of death.

Objective: To develop risk prediction models for intrapartum stillbirth and neonatal death.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study used data from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research population-based vital registry, including clinical sites in South Asia (India and Pakistan), Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Kenya), and Latin America (Guatemala). A total of 502 648 pregnancies were prospectively enrolled in the registry.

Exposures: Risk factors were added sequentially into the data set in 4 scenarios: (1) prenatal, (2) predelivery, (3) delivery and day 1, and (4) postdelivery through day 2.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Data sets were randomly divided into 10 groups of 3 analysis data sets including training (60%), test (20%), and validation (20%). Conventional and advanced machine learning modeling techniques were applied to assess predictive abilities using area under the curve (AUC) for intrapartum stillbirth and neonatal mortality.

Results: All prenatal and predelivery models had predictive accuracy for both intrapartum stillbirth and neonatal mortality with AUC values 0.71 or less. Five of 6 models for neonatal mortality based on delivery/day 1 and postdelivery/day 2 had increased predictive accuracy with AUC values greater than 0.80. Birth weight was the most important predictor for neonatal death in both postdelivery scenarios with independent predictive ability with AUC values of 0.78 and 0.76, respectively. The addition of 4 other top predictors increased AUC to 0.83 and 0.87 for the postdelivery scenarios, respectively.

Conclusions And Relevance: Models based on prenatal or predelivery data had predictive accuracy for intrapartum stillbirths and neonatal mortality of AUC values 0.71 or less. Models that incorporated delivery data had good predictive accuracy for risk of neonatal mortality. Birth weight was the most important predictor for neonatal mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.26750DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675108PMC
November 2020
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