Background: To achieve a child mortality reduction according to millennium development goal 4, it is necessary to considerably reduce neonatal mortality. We report stillbirth and early neonatal mortality risks as well as determinants of perinatal mortality in Eastern Uganda.
Methods: A community-based prospective cohort study was conducted between 2006 and 2008. A total of 835 pregnant women were followed up for pregnancy outcome and survival of their children until 7 days after delivery. Mother's residence, age, parity, bed net use and whether delivery took place at home were included in multivariable regression analyses to identify risk factors for perinatal death.
Results: The stillbirth risk was 19 per 1,000 pregnancies and the early neonatal death risk 22 per 1,000 live births. Overall, the perinatal mortality risk was 41 [95%CI: 27, 54] per 1,000 pregnancies. Of the deaths, 47% followed complicated deliveries and 24% preterm births. Perinatal mortality was 63/1,000 pregnancies among teenage mothers, 76/1,000 pregnancies among nulliparous women and 61/1,000 pregnancies among women delivering at home who, after controlling for potential confounders, had a 3.7 (95%CI: 1.8, 7.4) times higher perinatal mortality than women who gave birth in a health facility. This association was considerably stronger among nulliparous women [RR 8.0 (95%CI: 2.9, 21.6)] than among women with a previous live birth [RR 1.8 (95%CI: 0.7, 4.5)]. All perinatal deaths occurred among women who did not sleep under a mosquito net. Women living in urban slums had a higher risk of losing their babies than those in rural areas [RR: 2.7 (95%CI: 1.4, 5.3)].
Conclusion: Our findings strengthen arguments for ensuring that pregnant women have access to and use adequate delivery facilities and bed nets.