Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes: a secondary analysis of the World Health Organization Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health

BJOG. 2014 Mar;121 Suppl 1:14-24. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12629.


Objective: To assess the incidence of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and related severe complications, identify other associated factors and compare maternal and perinatal outcomes in women with and without these conditions.

Design: Secondary analysis of the World Health Organization Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health (WHOMCS) database.

Setting: Cross-sectional study implemented at 357 health facilities conducting 1000 or more deliveries annually in 29 countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Population: All women suffering from any hypertensive disorder during pregnancy, the intrapartum or early postpartum period in the participating hospitals during the study period.

Methods: We calculated the proportion of the pre-specified outcomes in the study population and their distribution according to hypertensive disorders' severity. We estimated the association between them and maternal deaths, near-miss cases, and severe maternal complications using a multilevel logit model.

Main outcome measures: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Potentially life-threatening conditions among maternal near-miss cases, maternal deaths and cases without severe maternal outcomes.

Results: Overall, 8542 (2.73%) women suffered from hypertensive disorders. Incidences of pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and chronic hypertension were 2.16%, 0.28% and 0.29%, respectively. Maternal near-miss cases were eight times more frequent in women with pre-eclampsia, and increased to up to 60 times more frequent in women with eclampsia, when compared with women without these conditions.

Conclusions: The analysis of this large database provides estimates of the global distribution of the incidence of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The information on the most frequent complications related to pre-eclampsia and eclampsia could be of interest to inform policies for health systems organisation.

Keywords: Eclampsia; incidence; near miss; pre-eclampsia; risk factors; severe maternal outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eclampsia / mortality*
  • Eclampsia / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers* / organization & administration
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers* / standards
  • Middle East / epidemiology
  • Parity
  • Policy Making
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pre-Eclampsia / mortality*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • World Health Organization
  • Young Adult