Temporal and Spatial Trends of Adverse Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes in a Sample of Births from a Public Hospital in Chile

J Urban Health. 2023 Jun;100(3):513-524. doi: 10.1007/s11524-023-00733-y. Epub 2023 May 22.


Understanding temporal and spatial trends in pregnancy and birth outcomes within an urban area is important for the monitoring of health indicators of a population. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all births in the public hospital of Temuco, a medium-sized city in Southern Chile between 2009 and 2016 (n = 17,237). Information on adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, as well as spatial and maternal characteristics (insurance type, employment, smoking, age, and overweight/obesity), was collected from medical charts. Home addresses were geocoded and assigned to neighborhood. We tested whether births and prevalence of adverse pregnancy outcomes changed over time, whether birth events were spatially clustered (Moran's I statistic), and whether neighborhood deprivation was correlated to outcomes (Spearman's rho). We observed decreases in eclampsia, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and small for gestational age, while gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and low birth weight increased over the study period (all p < 0.01 for trend), with little changes after adjusting for maternal characteristics. We observed neighborhood clusters for birth rate, preterm birth, and low birth weight. Neighborhood deprivation was negatively correlated with low birth weight and preterm birth, but not correlated with eclampsia, preeclampsia, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, small for gestational age, gestational diabetes, nor stillbirth. Several encouraging downward trends and some increases in adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, which, overall, were not explained by changes in maternal characteristics were observed. Identified clusters of higher adverse birth outcomes may be used to evaluate preventive health coverage in this setting.

Keywords: Birth outcomes; Chile; Pregnancy complication; Spatial analysis; Temporal trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational*
  • Eclampsia*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Premature Birth* / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies