Stillbirths in an urban community in Pakistan

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Sep;197(3):257.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.07.012.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine stillbirth risk factors and gestational age at delivery in a prospective developing country birth cohort.

Study design: At 20-26 weeks of gestation, 1369 Pakistani women were prospectively enrolled in the study; the gestational age was determined by ultrasound evaluation, and risk factors and pregnancy outcomes were assessed.

Results: The stillbirth rate was 33.6 of 1000 births, despite the fact that 96% of the women received prenatal care, 83% of the women were attended by skilled providers in the hospital, and a 20% of the women underwent cesarean delivery. Fifty-one percent of stillbirths occurred at > or = 37 weeks of gestation and 19% occurred from 34-36 weeks of gestation. Only 4% of the births had congenital anomalies. Hemoglobin of < 8 g/dL, vaginal bleeding, and preeclampsia were associated with increased stillbirth risk.

Conclusion: In this developing country with reasonable technical resources defined by hospital delivery and a high cesarean delivery rate, stillbirth rates were much higher than rates in the United States. That most of the stillbirths were term and did not have congenital anomalies and that the death appeared to be recent suggests that many Pakistani stillbirths may be preventable with higher quality obstetric care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Urban Population