Objectives: Intrapartum-related complications are the second leading cause of neonatal death worldwide. We estimate the community-level risk and burden of intrapartum-related fetal/neonatal mortality and morbidity associated with non-cephalic and multiple birth in rural Sarlahi District, Nepal.
Design: Community-based prospective cohort study.
Setting: Rural Sarlahi District, Nepal.
Participants: Pregnant women residing in the study area.
Methods: We collected data on maternal background characteristics, conditions during labour and delivery, fetal presentation and multiple birth during home visits. We ran log-binomial regression models to estimate the associations between non-cephalic/multiple births and fresh stillbirth, early neonatal mortality and signs of neonatal encephalopathy, respectively, and calculated the per cent attributable fraction. To better understand the context under which these adverse birth outcomes are occurring, we also collected data on maternal awareness of non-cephalic presentation and multiple gestation prior to delivery.
Primary outcome measures: Risk of experiencing fresh stillbirth, early neonatal encephalopathy and early neonatal mortality associated with non-cephalic and multiple birth, respectively.
Results: Non-cephalic presentation had a particularly high risk of fresh stillbirth (aRR 12.52 (95% CI 7.86 to 19.95), reference: cephalic presentation). 20.2% of all fresh stillbirths were associated with non-cephalic presentation. For multiple births, there was a fourfold increase in early neonatal mortality (aRR: 4.57 (95% CI 1.44 to 14.50), reference: singleton births). 3.4% of early neonatal mortality was associated with multiple gestation.
Conclusions: Globally and in Nepal, a large percentage of stillbirths and neonatal mortality is associated with intrapartum-related complications. Despite the low incidence of non-cephalic and multiple birth, a notable proportion of adverse intrapartum-related outcomes is associated with these conditions. As the proportion of neonatal deaths attributable to intrapartum-related complications continues to rise, there is a need to investigate how best to advance diagnostic capacity and management of these conditions.
Trial registration number: NCT01177111; pre-results.
Keywords: Nepal; breech; multiple gestation; neonatal mortality; non-cephalic presentation; stillbirth.
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