Aim: To determine the rates of multiple gestation, stillbirth, and perinatal and neonatal mortality and to determine health care system characteristics related to perinatal mortality of these pregnancies in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods: Pregnant women residing within defined geographic boundaries located in six countries were enrolled and followed to 42 days postpartum.
Results: Multiple gestations were 0.9% of births. Multiple gestations were more likely to deliver in a health care facility compared with singletons (70 and 66%, respectively, p < 0.001), to be attended by skilled health personnel (71 and 67%, p < 0.001), and to be delivered by cesarean (18 versus 9%, p < 0.001). Multiple-gestation fetuses had a relative risk (RR) for stillbirth of 2.65 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.06, 3.41) and for perinatal mortality rate (PMR) a RR of 3.98 (95% CI 3.40, 4.65) relative to singletons (both p < 0.0001). Neither delivery in a health facility nor the cesarean delivery rate was associated with decreased PMR. Among multiple-gestation deliveries, physician-attended delivery relative to delivery by other health providers was associated with a decreased risk of perinatal mortality.
Conclusions: Multiple gestations contribute disproportionately to PMR in low-resource countries. Neither delivery in a health facility nor the cesarean delivery rate is associated with improved PMR.
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