Introduction: To determine the outcomes of vaginal deliveries in three study hospitals in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), People's Republic of China (PRC), at high altitude (3650 m).
Methods: Prospective observational study of 1121 vaginal deliveries.
Results: Pre-eclampsia/gestational hypertension (PE/GH) was the most common maternal complication 18.9% (n=212), followed by postpartum hemorrhage (blood loss > or = 500 ml) 13.4%. There were no maternal deaths. Neonatal complications included: low birth weight (10.2%), small for gestational age (13.7%), pre-term delivery (4.1%) and low Apgar (3.7%). There were 11 stillbirths (9.8/1000 live births) and 19 early neonatal deaths (17/1000 live births).
Conclusion: This is the largest study of maternal and newborn outcomes in Tibet. It provides information on the outcomes of institutional vaginal births among women delivering infants at high altitude. There was a higher incidence of PE/GH and low birth weight; rates of PPH were not increased compared to those at lower altitudes.