Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Recurrence of adverse perinatal outcomes in developing countries

Fengxiu Ouyang, Jun Zhang, Ana Pilar Betrán, Zujing Yang, João Paulo Souza & Mario Merialdi

Objective

To evaluate the risk of recurrence of adverse perinatal outcomes in second pregnancies in developing countries.

Methods

Data from the 2004–2008 Global Survey on Maternal and Perinatal Health were used to determine the outcomes of singleton second pregnancies for 61 780 women in 23 developing countries. The mother–infant pairs had been followed up until discharge or for 7 days postpartum.

Findings

At the end of their second pregnancies, women whose first pregnancy had ended in stillbirth (n = 1261) or been followed by neonatal death (n = 1052) were more likely than women who had not experienced either outcome to have given birth to a child with a birth weight of < 1500 g (odds ratio, OR: 2.52 and 2.78, respectively) or 1500–2499 g (OR: 1.22 and 1.60, respectively), or to an infant requiring admission to an intensive care unit (OR: 1.64 and 1.68, respectively). At the end of their second pregnancies, those whose first pregnancy had ended in a stillbirth were at increased risk of another stillbirth (OR: 2.35) and those whose first infant had died as a neonate were at increased risk of having the second infant die within the first 7 days of life (OR: 2.82). These trends were found to be largely unaffected by the continent in which the women lived.

Conclusion

In the developing world, a woman whose first pregnancy ends in stillbirth or is followed by the death of the neonate is at increased risk of experiencing the same outcomes in her second pregnancy.

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