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Incidence of and Socio-Demographic Risk Factors for Stillbirth, Preterm Birth and Low Birthweight Among Zimbabwean Women

Publication Abstract

Feresu, S.A., Sioban D. Harlow, K. Welch, and B.W. Gillespie. 2004. "Incidence of and Socio-Demographic Risk Factors for Stillbirth, Preterm Birth and Low Birthweight Among Zimbabwean Women." Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 18(2): 154-163.

Data on birth outcomes are important for planning maternal and child health care services in developing countries. Only a few studies have examined frequency of birth outcomes in Zimbabwe, none of which has jointly examined the spectrum of poor birth outcomes across important demographic subgroups. We assessed delivery patterns and birth outcomes in 17 174 births over a one-year period from October 1997 to September 1998 at Harare Hospital, Zimbabwe. The annual rate of stillbirth was 61 per 1000 live births, rate of preterm birth (<37 weeks) was 168 per 1000, and low birthweight (LBW) (<2500 g) was 199 per 1000. Not attending antenatal care (prenatal care) was associated with increased risks of stillbirth [relative risk (RR) = 2.54, 95% CI 2.21, 2.92], preterm delivery [RR = 2.43, 95% CI 2.26, 2.61] and LBW births [RR = 2.16, 95% CI 2.02, 2.31]. Preterm births and LBW births were more likely to be stillborn [RR = 7.26, 95% CI 6.28, 8.39 and RR = 6.85, 95% CI 5.94, 7.91]. In conclusion, the rate of stillbirth is high and is predominantly associated with preterm births and to a lesser extent LBW. Reducing the frequency of stillbirth will require a better understanding of the determinants of preterm births and strategies for addressing this particular subset of high-risk births.

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