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.
© 2014 RCOG The World Health Organization retains copyright and all other rights in the manuscript of this article as submitted for publication.