Background: Although the perinatal mortality rate (PNMR) has been reduced over time in Bangladesh, the rate is still very high. Only a few studies explored the determinants of high PNMR in Bangladesh, yet most of them were small-scale or conducted for stillbirths and early neonatal deaths separately. The objective of this study was to explore the trends in and determinants of perinatal deaths in Bangladesh which would be an advanced step in effective policies to tackle the issue.
Methods: The data used for this study was extracted from four rounds of Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys (BDHSs) 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2014. We considered the outcome of the 26604 pregnancies reaching seven months of their gestation. The trends of perinatal mortality was assessed using the Cochran-Armitage test, while the logistic regression with generalized estimating equation (GEE) to account for the clustering effect was implemented to explore the association between perinatal mortality and its risk factors.
Results: The PNMR was significantly reduced from 64 (95% CI: 57-73) to 41 (95% CI: 35-48) per 1000 pregnancies between 2004 and 2014 (stillbirths: 34 to 19 and early neonatal deaths: 30 to 22). After adjusting for potential covariates in the model, we found that administrative division, type of cooking fuel, child's gender, maternal occupation, body mass index, birth interval, history of miscarriage, previous deaths of children, total number of under 5 children, mode of delivery, type of delivery, access to participation in decision making, paternal education and occupation were significantly associated with perinatal deaths.
Conclusion: The study highlights the importance of strengthening proper postnatal care services in the healthcare facilities. Alongside this, effort should also be stressed to ensure proper pregnancy care and to improve the socio-economic condition of the households to address the issue.