Assessing pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe: Results from a systematic chart review

PLoS One. 2021 Mar 31;16(3):e0248423. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248423. eCollection 2021.


A systematic chart review was performed to estimate the frequency of pregnancy outcomes, pregnancy complications and neonatal outcomes at facilities in Blantyre, Malawi; Johannesburg, South Africa; Kampala, Uganda; and Chitungwiza and Harare, Zimbabwe to provide comparisons with estimates from an ongoing clinical trial evaluating the safety of two biomedical HIV prevention interventions in pregnancy. A multi-site, cross-sectional chart review was conducted at Maternal Obstetric Units and hospitals where women participating in the ongoing clinical trial would be expected to deliver. All individuals delivering at the designated facilities or admitted for postpartum care within seven days of a delivery elsewhere (home, health clinic, etc.) were included in the review. Data were abstracted for pregnancy outcomes, pregnancy complications, maternal and neonatal death, and congenital anomalies. Data from 10,138 records were abstracted across all four sites (Blantyre n = 2,384; Johannesburg n = 1,888; Kampala n = 3,708; Chitungwiza and Harare n = 2,158), which included 10,426 pregnancy outcomes. The prevalence of preterm birth was 13% (range across sites: 10.4-20.7) and 4.1% of deliveries resulted in stillbirth (range: 3.1-5.5). The most commonly noted pregnancy complication was gestational hypertension, reported among 4.4% of pregnancies. Among pregnancies resulting in a live birth, 15.5% were low birthweight (range: 13.8-17.4) and 2.0% resulted in neonatal death (range:1.2-3.2). Suspected congenital anomalies were noted in 1.2% of pregnancies. This study provides systematically collected data on background rates of pregnancy outcomes, pregnancy complications and neonatal outcomes that can be used as a reference in support of ongoing HIV prevention studies. In addition, estimates from this study provide important background data for future studies of investigational products evaluated in pregnancy in these urban settings.