The objective was to investigate racial and ethnic differences in unexpected, term newborn morbidity and the influence of hospital quality on disparities. Findings suggest that Black and Hispanic women were more likely to deliver in hospitals with high complication rates than were white or Asian American women. Findings implicate hospital quality in contributing to preventable newborn health disparities among low-risk, term births. Quality improvement targeting routine obstetric and neonatal care is critical for equity in perinatal outcomes.
Birth outcomes across the spectrum of maternal age: dissecting aging effect versus confounding by social and medical determinantsby Olapeju et al.
Given the trend of increasing maternal age and associated adverse reproductive outcomes in the US, this study aimed to assess whether this association is due to an independent aging or confounded by sociodemographic, biomedical, or behavioral determinants in a predominantly Black US population. In this high-risk minority population, findings demonstrated that the association between increasing maternal age and adverse pregnancy outcomes was due to an independent aging effect and the presence of confounding by sociodemographic, biomedical, and behavioral factors. Some modifiable risk factors to counteract aging effect, include optimizing BMI and consistent intake of multivitamin supplement. A fundamental change in how care is provided to women, particularly low income Black women, is needed with emphasis on the protective role of optimal nutritional status.
The objective of the study was to examine whether the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic altered risk of adverse pregnancy-related outcomes and whether there were differences by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection status among pregnant women. Findings suggest that in a geographically diverse U.S. cohort, the frequency of adverse pregnancy-related outcomes did not differ between those delivering before compared with during the pandemic, nor between those classified as positive compared with negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy.
Widespread implementation of a low-cost telehealth service in the delivery of antenatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic: an interrupted time-series analysisby Palmer et al
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors developed and implemented a new antenatal care schedule integrating telehealth across all models of pregnancy care and assessed the effectiveness and safety of telehealth in antenatal care. Findings from this study suggest that telehealth integrated antenatal care enabled the reduction of in-person consultations by 50% without compromising pregnancy outcomes. This care model can help to minimise in-person interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, but should also be considered in post-pandemic health-care models.
Global health experts have described loss of autonomy and disrespect as mistreatment. Risk of disrespect and abuse is higher when patient and care provider opinions differ, but little is known about service users experiences when declining aspects of their maternity care. To address this gap, the authors present a qualitative content analysis of 1540 written accounts from 892 service users declining or refusing care options throughout childbearing with a large, geographically representative sample (2900) of childbearing women in British Columbia who participated in an online survey with open-ended questions eliciting care experiences.
How reliable are self-reported estimates of birth registration completeness? Comparison with vital statistics systemsby Adair T et al
This study assesses the concordance of self-reported birth registration and certification completeness with completeness calculated from civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems data for 57 countries. These findings suggest that self-reported completeness figures over-estimate completeness when compared with CRVS data, especially at lower levels of completeness, partly due to over-reporting of registration by respondents. Estimates published by UNICEF should be viewed cautiously, especially given their wide usage.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on time series of maternal mortality ratio in Bahia, Brazil: analysis of period 2011-2020by Rita de Cássia Oliveira de Carvalho-Sauer et al
This study aimed to verify the relationship between the maternal mortality ratio and the incidence of COVID-19 in the State of Bahia, Brazil, 2020. The study revealed the increase in maternal mortality, and its temporal relationship with the incidence of COVID-19, in Bahia, Brazil, in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic may be directly and indirectly related to this increase, which needs to be investigated. An urgent public health action is needed to prevent and reduce maternal deaths during this pandemic, in Brazil.
The objective of this study was to evaluate neonatal outcomes in relation to maternal SARS-CoV-2 test positivity in pregnancy. In a nationwide cohort of infants in Sweden, maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy was significantly associated with small increases in some neonatal morbidities. Given the small numbers of events for many of the outcomes and the large number of statistical comparisons, the findings should be interpreted as exploratory.
Maternal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality Among Pregnant Women With and Without COVID-19 Infection: The INTERCOVID Multinational Cohort Studyby Villar J. et al
The objective of the study was to evaluate the risks associated with COVID-19 in pregnancy on maternal and neonatal outcomes compared with not-infected, concomitant pregnant individuals. In this multinational cohort study, COVID-19 in pregnancy was associated with consistent and substantial increases in severe maternal morbidity and mortality and neonatal complications when pregnant women with and without COVID-19 diagnosis were compared. The findings should alert pregnant individuals and clinicians to implement strictly all the recommended COVID-19 preventive measures.
Does family planning counseling reduce unmet need for modern contraception among postpartum women: Evidence from a stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial in Nepalby Puri et al
The study assessed whether providing contraceptive counseling during pregnancy and/or prior to discharge from the hospital for birth or after discharge from the hospital for birth was associated with reduced postpartum unmet need in Nepal. Findings suggest that counseling women either before or after discharge reduces unmet need for postpartum contraception but counseling in both periods is most effective.
Outcomes following medical termination versus prolonged pregnancy in women with severe preeclampsia before 26 weeksby Mariana A Carvalho et al
The objective of this study was to compare maternal complications and describe neonatal outcomes in women with severe preeclampsia at ≤ 26+0 weeks in two countries with different management policies: expectant management (Brazil) versus termination of pregnancy (France). When comparing termination of pregnancy to expectant management in severe preeclampsia before 26 weeks, maternal complications were equivalent but maternal reproductive future might have been compromised in 20% of cases due to a higher risk of uterine rupture in subsequent pregnancies for patients having classic cesarean (vertical incision). 26.6% of children survived the neonatal period when pregnancy was pursued, however we lack information on their long-term follow-up.
Characteristics and outcomes of pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes: a 5-year national population-based cohort studyby Murphy et al
The authors aimed to identify and compare modifiable risk factors associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with type 1 diabetes and those with type 2 diabetes and to identify effective maternity clinics. The data highlight persistent adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Maternal glycaemia and BMI are the key modifiable risk factors. No maternity clinics were had appreciably better outcomes than any others, suggesting that health-care system changes are needed across all clinics.
Disease Severity, Pregnancy Outcomes and Maternal Deaths among Pregnant Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Washington Stateby Lokken et al
The objective of this study was to describe disease severity and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infections in pregnancy across Washington State including pregnancy complications and outcomes, hospitalization, and case fatality. Findings suggest that COVID-19 hospitalization and case fatality rates in pregnant patients were significantly higher compared to similarly aged adults in Washington State. This data indicates that pregnant patients are at risk for severe or critical disease and mortality compared to non-pregnant adults, as well as preterm birth.
Estimation of pregnancy losses attributable to exposure to ambient fine particles in south Asia: an epidemiological case-control studyby Tao Xue et al
In this epidemiological case-control study, the authors collected data from Demographic and Health Surveys from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh for the period 1998–2016 for women who reported at least one pregnancy loss and one or more livebirths. The authors assessed ambient exposure during gestation with satellite-based PM2·5 measurements for the period. The findings add to epidemiological evidence of the association between pregnancy loss and PM2·5. Suboptimal air quality contributes to a considerable fraction of total pregnancy loss in south Asia. Controlling PM2·5 pollution will promote maternal health in south Asia.
Changes in Preterm Birth Phenotypes and Stillbirth at 2 Philadelphia Hospitals During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic, March-June 2020by Handley et al
Given differences in preterm birth across populations, the authors examined a diverse urban cohort in the US to determine if preterm birth, spontaneous preterm birth, medically indicated preterm birth, and stillbirth rates have changed during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This study did not detect significant changes in preterm or stillbirth rates during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in a racially diverse urban cohort from 2 Philadelphia hospitals. Although these data allow for disaggregation of spontaneous and medically indicated preterm births, no differences in overall rates of these phenotypes were detected.
Findings suggets that among women in low-resource countries who were at risk for early preterm birth, the use of dexamethasone resulted in significantly lower risks of neonatal death alone and stillbirth or neonatal death than the use of placebo, without an increase in the incidence of possible maternal bacterial infection.
Delivering maternal and childcare at primary healthcare level: The role of PMAQ as a pay for performance strategy in Brazilby Olívia Lucena de Medeiros et al
The authors aimed to estimate the association of Programme for Improving Primary Care Access and Quality (PMAQ) with the provision of maternal and childcare in Brazil, controlling for socioeconomic, geographic and family health team characteristics. Findings suggest that PMAQ has contributed to increase the provision of care to pregnant women and children under 2 years at primary healthcare level. Teams with lower average number of antenatal or child consultations benefited the most by participating in PMAQ, which suggests that PMAQ might motivate worse performing health providers to catch up.
Impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures on the incidence of preterm birth: a national quasi-experimental studyby Been et al
The study aimed to study the impact of the COVID-19 mitigation measures implemented in the Netherlands in a stepwise fashion on March 9, March 15, and March 23, 2020, on the incidence of preterm birth. In this national quasi-experimental study, initial implementation of COVID-19 mitigation measures was associated with a substantial reduction in the incidence of preterm births in the following months, in agreement with preliminary observations elsewhere. Integration of comparable data from across the globe is needed to further substantiate these findings and start exploring underlying mechanisms.
Preterm birth and nativity among Black women with gestational diabetes in California, 2013-2017: a population-based retrospective cohort studyby Scott et al
This retrospective cohort study used linked birth certificate and hospital discharge data for 8609 of the 100,691 self-identifying non-Hispanic Black women with gestational diabetes (GDM) who had a singleton live birth between 20 and 44 weeks gestation in California in 2013-2017. Findings suggest that foreign-born status remained protective of preterm birth (PTB), irrespective of severity and subtype. Preeclampsia, PTB, and GDM share pathophysiologic mechanisms suggesting a need to better understand differences in perinatal stress, chronic disease, and vascular dysfunction based on nativity in future epidemiologic studies and health services research.
This is the first study to investigate the possible correlation between maternal post-partum depression (PPD), mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship satisfaction, maternal marital satisfaction, paternal marital satisfaction, and paternal PPD. It is important for future PPD interventions to target both maternal and paternal mental health, as well as the mechanisms identified that can lead to PPD.
The authors conducted an online survey with 1219 breastfeeding mothers in the United Kingdom with a baby 0-12 months old to understand the impact of the pandemic upon breastfeeding duration, experiences and support. The results highlighted two very different experiences: 41.8% of mothers felt that breastfeeding was protected due to lockdown, but 27.0% of mothers struggled to get support and had numerous barriers stemming from lockdown with some stopped breastfeeding before they were ready.
Metformin in women with type 2 diabetes in pregnancy (MiTy): a multicentre, international, randomised, placebo-controlled trialby Prof Denice S Feig et al
In this prospective, multicentre, international, randomised, parallel, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial, women with type 2 diabetes during pregnancy were randomly assigned from 25 centres in Canada and four in Australia to receive either metformin 1000 mg twice daily or placebo, added to insulin. The study found several maternal glycaemic and neonatal adiposity benefits in the metformin group. Along with reduced maternal weight gain and insulin dosage and improved glycaemic control, the lower adiposity and infant size measurements resulted in fewer large infants but a higher proportion of small-for-gestational-age infants. Understanding the implications of these effects on infants will be important to properly advise patients who are contemplating the use of metformin during pregnancy.
The objective of this study was to compare neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or special care nursery admission for deliveries with water immersion compared with deliveries in the matched control group without water immersion. Secondary outcomes included adverse neonatal diagnoses, maternal infections, and perineal lacerations. Findings suggest that hospital-based deliveries with second-stage water immersion had lower risk of NICU or special care nursery admission and perineal lacerations than matched deliveries in the control group without water immersion.
Valaciclovir to prevent vertical transmission of cytomegalovirus after maternal primary infection during pregnancy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trialby Keren Shahar-Nissan et al
This prospective, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was done at the Infectious Feto-Maternal Clinic of Rabin Medical Center (Petach Tikvah, Israel). Pregnant women aged 18 years or older, with serological evidence of a primary cytomegalovirus infection acquired either periconceptionally or during the first trimester of pregnancy, were randomly assigned to oral valaciclovir (8 g per day, twice daily) or placebo from enrolment until amniocentesis at 21 or 22 gestational weeks. Findings suggest that valaciclovir is effective in reducing the rate of fetal cytomegalovirus infection after maternal primary infection acquired early in pregnancy. Early treatment of pregnant women with primary infection might prevent termination of pregnancies or delivery of infants with congenital cytomegalovirus
The Community-Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) cluster randomised trials in Mozambique, Pakistan, and India: an individual participant-level meta-analysisby Peter von Dadelszen et al
The objective of this study was to overcome the three delays in triage, transport and treatment that underlie adverse pregnancy outcomes with community-level interventions targeting women with pregnancy hypertension in three low-income countries. In this individual participant-level meta-analysis, the authors de-identified and pooled data from the Community-Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) cluster randomised controlled trials in Mozambique, Pakistan, and India, which were run in 2014–17. The CLIP intervention did not reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes. Future community-level interventions should expand the community health worker workforce, assess general (rather than condition-specific) messaging, and include health system strengthening.
Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic response on intrapartum care, stillbirth, and neonatal mortality outcomes in Nepal: a prospective observational studyby Ashish Kc et al
The authors aimed to assess the number of institutional births, their outcomes (institutional stillbirth and neonatal mortality rate), and quality of intrapartum care before and during the national COVID-19 lockdown in Nepal. Findings suggest that institutional childbirth reduced by more than half during lockdown, with increases in institutional stillbirth rate and neonatal mortality, and decreases in quality of care. Some behaviours improved, notably hand hygiene and keeping the baby skin-to-skin with their mother. An urgent need exists to protect access to high quality intrapartum care and prevent excess deaths for the most vulnerable health system users during this pandemic period.
Clinical characteristics and risk factors for mortality in obstetric patients with severe COVID-19 in Brazil: a surveillance database analysisby Takemoto et al
The objective of this study was to describe clinical characteristics of pregnant and postpartum women with severe COVID-19 in Brazil and to examine risk factors for mortality. The authors identified 124 maternal deaths, corresponding to a case fatality rate among COVID-19 Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) cases in the obstetric population of 12.7%. At least one comorbidity was present in 48.4% of fatal cases compared to 24.9% in survival cases. Among women who died, 58.9% were admitted to ICU, 53.2% had invasive ventilation and 29.0% had no respiratory support. The multivariate logistic regression showed that the main risk factors for maternal death by COVID-19 were postpartum at onset of ARDS, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, while white ethnicity had a protective effect.
In this study, the authors aimed to elucidate best practices regarding infection control in mother–newborn dyads, and identify potential risk factors associated with transmission. Data suggest that perinatal transmission of COVID-19 is unlikely to occur if correct hygiene precautions are undertaken, and that allowing neonates to room in with their mothers and direct breastfeeding are safe procedures when paired with effective parental education of infant protective strategies.
What has women's reproductive health decision-making capacity and other factors got to do with pregnancy termination in sub-Saharan Africa? evidence from 27 cross-sectional surveysby Abdul-Aziz Seidu et al
The authors examined the reproductive health decision-making (RHDM) capacity and pregnancy termination among women of reproductive age in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Findings suggest that women who are capable of taking reproductive health decisions are more likely to terminate pregnancies. Findings also suggest that age, level of education, contraceptive use and intention, place of residence, and parity are associated with pregnancy termination.
Effect of a quality improvement package for intrapartum and immediate newborn care on fresh stillbirth and neonatal mortality among preterm and low-birthweight babies in Kenya and Uganda: a cluster-raby Walker et al
The authors aimed to assess the effect of a quality improvement package for intrapartum and immediate newborn care on stillbirth and preterm neonatal survival in Kenya and Uganda, where evidence-based practices are often underutilised. This unblinded cluster-randomised controlled trial was done in western Kenya and eastern Uganda at facilities that provide 24-h maternity care with at least 200 births per year. Findings suggests that fresh stillbirth and neonatal mortality among low-birthweight and preterm babies can be decreased using a package of interventions that reinforces evidence-based practices and invests in health system strengthening.
Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019by Bearack et al
The authors developed a model that simultaneously estimated incidence of unintended pregnancy and abortion within a Bayesian framework. The findings suggest that between 1990–94 and 2015–19, the global unintended pregnancy rate has declined, whereas the proportion of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion has increased. As a result, the global average abortion rate in 2015–19 was roughly equal to the estimates for 1990–94. Our findings suggest that people in high-income countries have better access to sexual and reproductive health care than those in low-income countries. Our findings indicate that individuals seek abortion even in settings where it is restricted. These findings emphasise the importance of ensuring access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion care, and for additional investment towards equity in health-care services.
Cost-effectiveness analysis of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in promotion of breast-feeding and reduction of late neonatal infant mortality in Brazilby Osvaldinete Lopes de Oliveira Silva et al
The objective of this study was to analyse the cost-effectiveness of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in promoting breast-feeding during the first hour of life (BFFHL) and reducing late neonatal mortality. Cost-effectiveness analysis showed that BFHI was highly cost-effective in raising BFFHL by 32·0 % at lower cost in comparison with non-BFHI. In addition, BFHI was cost-effective in reducing late neonatal mortality rate by 13·0 % from all causes and by 13·1 % of infant mortality rate from infections.
Clinical Findings and Disease Severity in Hospitalized Pregnant Women With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)by Savasi et al
The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical evolution of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in hospitalized pregnant women and potential factors associated with severe maternal outcomes. In the study cohort, one in five women hospitalized with COVID-19 infection delivered urgently for respiratory compromise or were admitted to the ICU. None, however, died. Increased pregestational BMI and abnormal heart and respiratory rates on admission were associated with severe disease.
The aim of the present study is to examine the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms and the corresponding risk factors among pregnant women across China. Findings suggest that major life-threatening public health events such as the COVID-19 outbreak may increase the risk for mental illness among pregnant women including thoughts of self-harm. Strategies targeting maternal stress and isolation such as effective risk communication and the provision of psychological first aid may be particularly useful to prevent negative outcomes for women and their fetuses.
A sexual and reproductive health and justice policy agenda must be at the heart of the COVID-19 response. The response must ensure that universal health coverage includes pregnant women, adolescents, and marginalised groups and must designate sexual and reproductive health, family planning, and community health centres as essential health providers, reallocating resources accordingly.
Community-based Savings Groups, Women's Agency, and Maternal Health Service Utilisation: Evidence From Mozambiqueby Tura et al
This study, using data collected as part of an ongoing programme evaluation, investigates whether participation in Saving Groups (SGs)-a community-owned microfinance intervention focused on poor households - is associated with maternal health service utilisation, and whether this association is mediated by women's agency - as measured by self-efficacy and decision-making autonomy. This study suggests that the impact of SG membership on use of maternal health services goes beyond improvements in household income and may operate through women's agency by giving women the ability to realize their preference for quality health care.
Effective Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programming Among Rohingya Refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh: Implementation Challenges and Potential Solutionsby Sarker et al
This study explores the challenges and potential solutions for effective implementation of maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) programs for FDMNs residing in camps of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Findings suggest that providing healthcare in an emergency setting has several associated challenges. Considering the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) as the base for identifying different challenges and their potential solutions at a different level of the program can prove to be an excellent asset for the program implementers in designing their plans. Two additional domains, context, and security should be included in the CFIR framework for any humanitarian settings.
Home childbirth among young mothers aged 15-24 years in Nigeria: a national population-based cross-sectional studyby Adewuyi et al
A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) was done to estimate the prevalence and identify factors associated with home childbirth (delivery) among young mothers aged 15-24 years in Nigeria. Findings suggest that young mothers aged 15-24 years had a higher prevalence of home delivery than the national average for all women of reproductive age in Nigeria.
Post-partum family planning in Burkina Faso (Yam Daabo): a two group, multi-intervention, single-blinded, cluster-randomised controlled trial.by Taon Tran et al
This study assessed the effect of a family planning intervention package on modern contraceptive use at 12 months post partum in predominantly rural Burkina Faso. Findings suggest that a package of six low-technology interventions, aimed at strengthening existing primary health-care services and enhancing demand for these services, can effectively increase modern contraceptive use for up to a year post partum in rural settings in Burkina Faso and has the potential to be suitable in similar settings in this country and others.
Prophylactic antibiotics in the prevention of infection after operative vaginal delivery (ANODE): a multicentre randomised controlled trialby Knight et al
The authors aimed to investigate whether antibiotic prophylaxis prevented maternal infection after operative vaginal birth. In a blinded, randomised controlled trial done at 27 UK obstetric units, women (aged ≥16 years) were allocated to receive a single dose of intravenous amoxicillin and clavulanic acid or placebo (saline) following operative vaginal birth at 36 weeks gestation or later. The primary outcome was confirmed or suspected maternal infection within 6 weeks of delivery defined by a new prescription of antibiotics for specific indications, confirmed systemic infection on culture, or endometritis. This trial shows benefit of a single dose of prophylactic antibiotic after operative vaginal birth and guidance from WHO and other national organisations should be changed to reflect this.
An mHealth SMS intervention on Postpartum Contraceptive Use Among Women and Couples in Kenya: A Randomized Controlled Trialby Harrington et al.
The objective of this study was to assess the effect of 2-way short message service (SMS) with a nurse on postpartum contraceptive use among individual women and couples. The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial at 2 public hospitals in western Kenya. Findings suggest that the two-way SMS with a nurse, including optional male participation, increased postpartum contraceptive use.
Effect of Addition of an Intimate Partner Violence Intervention to a Nurse Home Visitation Program on Maternal Quality of Life A Randomized Clinical Trialby Jack et al
This cluster randomised trial assessed whether augmentation of a nurse home visitation program with an intimate partner violence intervention, starting in pregnancy, compared with the home visitation program alone, leads to improved maternal quality of life at 24 months after infant delivery? The trial included 492 pregnant women, randomization to the augmented program compared with nurse home visitation alone resulted in maternal quality-of-life scores at 24 months postdelivery of 311.3 vs 316.2 (measured using the WHOQOL-BREF scale; range, 0-400)—a difference that was not statistically significant. These findings do not support augmenting a nurse home visitation program with this complex, multifaceted intimate partner violence intervention.
What maternal morbidities are and what they mean for women: A thematic analysis of twenty years of qualitative research in low and lower-middle income countriesby Lange et al
As part of the WHO’s Maternal Morbidity Working Group’s efforts to define and measure maternal morbidity, the authors carried out a thematic analysis of the qualitative literature published between 1998 and 2017 on how women experience maternal morbidity in low and lower-middle income countries. Analysis of the 71 papers included in this study shows that women’s status, their marital relationships, cultural attitudes towards fertility and social responses to infertility and pregnancy trauma are fundamental to determining how they will experience morbidity in the pregnancy and postpartum periods.
Assessing the role of women's autonomy and acceptability of intimate-partner violence in maternal health-care utilization in 63 low- and middle-income countries.by Sripad et al
This study investigates the associations between women's autonomy and attitudes toward the acceptability of intimate-partner violence against women (IPVAW) and maternal health-care utilization outcomes. The findings suggest that strong and significant associations exist between autonomy, acceptability of IPVAW and utilization of maternal health-care services.
Neurodevelopmental milestones and associated behaviours are similar among healthy children across diverse geographical locationsby INTERGROWTH-21st
The latest findings from the international INTERGROWTH-21st Project, that has monitored healthy, urban children from educated families across four continents from early pregnancy to 2 years of age, show that human neurodevelopment is not influenced by the colour of an individual’s skin.
Health systems' capacity to provide post-abortion care: a multicountry analysis using signal functionsby Owolabi OO et al
The study authors did a multicountry analysis of data from nationally representative Service Provision Assessment surveys done between 2007 to 2017 in ten countries across three regions (Bangladesh, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda). Findings suggest that there are critical gaps in the provision of post-abortion care at all facilities that offer delivery services. In seven (70%) of ten countries, less than 10% of primary-level facilities could provide basic post-abortion care, and in eight (80%) of ten countries less than 40% of referral-level facilities could provide comprehensive post-abortion care. In no country could all referral facilities provide all the essential services that need to be included in basic post-abortion care. Increasing the provision of good-quality post-abortion care is essential to reduce the level of abortion-related morbidity and mortality.
How much do conditional cash transfers increase the utilization of maternal and child health care services? New evidence from Janani Suraksha Yojana in India.by Rahman MM et al
Janani Suraksha Yojana (safe motherhood scheme, or JSY) provides cash incentives to marginal pregnant women in India conditional on having mainly institutional delivery. Using the fourth round of district level household survey (DLHS-4), we have estimated its effects on both intended and unintended outcomes. Our estimates of average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) from propensity score matching are remarkably higher than those found in previous prominent studies using the second and third rounds of the survey (DLHS-2 and DLHS-3). When we apply fuzzy regression discontinuity design exploiting the second birth order, our estimates of local average treatment effect (LATE) are much higher than that of ATT. For example, due to JSY, institutional delivery increases by around 16 percentage points according to ATT estimate but about 23 percentage points according to LATE estimate.
Global Abortion Policies Database: a new approach to strengthening knowledge on laws, policies, and human rights standardsby Ronald Johnson Jr et al
The GAPD is a comprehensive tool that can be used to strengthen knowledge, inform law and policy research to generate evidence on the impact of laws and policies in practice, and facilitate greater awareness of the many challenges to creating enabling policy environments for safe abortion.
The magnitude and severity of abortion-related morbidity in settings with limited access to abortion services: a systematic review and meta-regressionby Calvert et al
This systematic review aims to estimate the magnitude and severity of complications associated with abortion in areas where access to abortion is limited, with a particular focus on potentially life-threatening complications. In spite of the challenges on how near miss morbidity has been defined and measured in the included studies, our results suggest that a substantial percentage of abortion-related hospital admissions have potentially life-threatening complications. Estimates that are more reliable will only be obtained with increased use of standard definitions such as the WHO near-miss criteria and/or better reporting of clinical criteria applied in studies.
Impact of integrating a postpartum family planning program into a community-based maternal and newborn health program on birth spacing and preterm birth in rural Bangladeshby Baqui et al
In a quasi-experimental trial design, unions with an average population of about 25 000 and a first level health facility were allocated to an intervention arm (n = 4) to receive integrated post-partum family planning and maternal and newborn health (PPFP-MNH) interventions, or to a control arm (n = 4) to receive the MNH interventions only. Study findings demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of integrating PPFP interventions into a community based MNH intervention package. Thus, MNH programs should consider systematically integrating PPFP as a service component to improve pregnancy spacing and reduce the risk of preterm birth.
The aim of this study was to determine whether an intervention designed to involve the male partners of pregnant women in Burkina Faso in facility-based maternity care influences care-seeking and healthy practices after childbirth. The hypothesis was that the intervention would increase postnatal care attendance, the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and the use of postpartum contraception. Findings suggest that the intervention to involve male partners in maternity care was associated with an increase in attendance at postnatal care consultations, in the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and in the use of postpartum contraception, especially long-acting, reversible contraception. The intervention also had a positive effect on communication between the couple and shared decision-making related to reproductive health.
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women with prior gestational diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysisby Li et al
This study aims to investigate the effect of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) on the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Seven cohort studies with 3,417,020 pregnant women including 14,146 incident CVD events were retrieved. In the pooled analysis, women with previous GDM had a higher risk of CVD than those without.
Economic and Health Predictors of National Postpartum Depression Prevalence: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Meta-Regression of 291 Studies from 56 Countriesby Hahn-Holbrook et al
Postpartum depression (PPD) poses a major global public health challenge. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the global and national prevalence of PPD and a meta-regression to identify economic, health, social, or policy factors associated with national PPD prevalence. The global prevalence of PPD is greater than previously thought and varies dramatically by nation. Disparities in wealth inequality and maternal-child-health factors explain much of the national variation in PPD prevalence.
Countdown to 2030: tracking progress towards universal coverage for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child healthby Countdown to 2030 Collaboration
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the rate of decline in prevalence of maternal and child mortality, stillbirths, and stunting among children younger than 5 years of age needs to accelerate considerably compared with progress since 2000. Countdown to 2030 is investing in improvements in measurement in several areas, such as quality of care and effective coverage, nutrition programmes, adolescent health, early childhood development, and evidence for conflict settings, and is prioritising its regional networks to enhance local analytic capacity and evidence for RMNCH.
The aim of the study reported here is to explore professionals’ perceptions regarding intimate partner violence (IPV) among young people, focusing on the characteristics of the phenomenon and their perceptions about existing programmes and campaigns aimed at addressing it. The study participants showed good knowledge of the characteristics IPV has among young people. This knowledge was reflected in locally implemented IPV prevention projects, which they considered successful in addressing young people’s needs. However, these interventions lacked formal evaluation, political support and continuation. The study participants did not believe that nationwide mass media campaigns realistically reflected the specific characteristics of IPV among young people. Thus, participants perceived these campaigns to be ineffective.
The aim of this review was to assess the scope of the published literature on the consequences of maternal morbidity on health-related functioning at the global level and identify key substantive findings as well as research and methodological gaps. Many assessments have not been comprehensive and have paid little attention to important functioning domains for pregnant and postpartum women. The development of a comprehensive instrument specific to maternal health would greatly advance our understanding of burden of ill health associated with maternal morbidity and help set priorities. The lack of attention to consequences on functioning associated with the main direct obstetric complications is of particular concern.
Evidence-based policy responses to strengthen health, community and legislative systems that care for women in Australia with female genital mutilation / cuttingby Varol N et al
This article reviews the literature on research on FGM/C in Australia, which focuses on health system response to women and girls with FGM/C. Recommendations are made for policy reform in health, legislation, and community programs to provide the best healthcare, protect children, and help communities abandon this harmful practice. Findings suggest that countries of migration can be part of the solution for abandonment of FGM/C through community interventions and implementation of national and coordinated training in FGM/C of experts involved in the care and protection of children and women. The global focus on collaboration on research, training and prevention programs should be fostered between countries of FGM/C prevalence and migration.
Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic reviewby Gilmore et al
This review reports findings on a systematic review analysing effectiveness of preventive interventions delivered by Community Health Workers for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries. Community Health Workers were shown to provide a range of preventive interventions for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries with some evidence of effective strategies, though insufficient evidence is available to draw conclusions for most interventions and further research is needed.
Obstetric fistula is an important global health issue that negatively affects the lives of countless women, and the team highlight what can be done to prevent and treat fistula.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan experienced a tumultuous period of democracy overshadowed by conflict, widespread insurgency, and an inflow of development assistance. Although there have been several cross-sectional assessments of health gains over the last decade, there has been no systematic analysis of progress and factors influencing maternal and child health in Afghanistan. Despite conflict and poverty, Afghanistan has made reasonable progress in its reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health indicators over the last decade based on contributions of factors within and outside the health sector. However, equitable access to health care remains a challenge and present delivery models have high transactional costs, affecting sustainability.
Reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: key messages from Disease Control Priorities 3rd Editionby Black et al
As part of Disease Control Priorities 3rd Edition, the World Bank will publish a volume on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health that identifies essential cost-effective health interventions that can be scaled up to reduce maternal, newborn, and child deaths, and stillbirths. This Review summarises the volume's key findings and estimates the effect and cost of expanded implementation of these interventions. Recognising that a continuum of care from the adolescent girl, woman, or mother to child is needed, the volume includes details of preventive and therapeutic health interventions in integrated packages: Maternal and Newborn Health and Child Health (along with folic acid supplementation, a key reproductive health intervention).
Exploring the relationship between socioeconomic factors, method of contraception and unintended pregnancyby Metcalfe et al
This study aimed to assess the impact of socioeconomic variables and method of contraception on the decision to either terminate or continue and unintended pregnancy. Low educational attainment was associated with not using any form of contraception among women with unintended pregnancies. However, as unintended pregnancy occurs across all socio-demographic groups, care providers are encouraged to have an open discussion regarding fertility goals and contraception with all patients and refer them to appropriate resource materials.
A seminar presented by Dr Jalemba Aluvaala in the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford
Damalie Nakanjako (MBChB, MMED, PhD) is an internist whose work focuses on optimizing HIV treatment outcomes and reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.
The articles in this collection examine the evidence and the thinking that form the basis of the new global strategy.
This study aim to estimate the 10- and 20-year mortality from breast cancer following a diagnosis of DCIS and to establish whether the mortality rate is influenced by age at diagnosis, ethnicity, and initial treatment received. Findings suggest that important risk factors for death from breast cancer following a DCIS diagnosis include age at diagnosis and black ethnicity. The risk of death increases after a diagnosis of an ipsilateral second primary invasive breast cancer, but prevention of these recurrences by radiotherapy does not diminish breast cancer mortality at 10 years.
Girls' and women's health is in transition and, although some aspects of it have improved substantially in the past few decades, there are still important unmet needs. Population ageing and transformations in the social determinants of health have increased the coexistence of disease burdens related to reproductive health, nutrition, and infections, and the emerging epidemic of chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Simultaneously, worldwide priorities in women's health have themselves been changing from a narrow focus on maternal and child health to the broader framework of sexual and reproductive health and to the encompassing concept of women's health, which is founded on a life-course approach.
What is the optimal rate of caesarean section at population level? A systematic review of ecologic studiesby Betran et al
The authors conducted a systematic review to identify, critically appraise and synthesize the analyses of the ecologic association between CS rates and maternal, neonatal and infant outcomes. The findings suggest that at CS rates below this threshold, socio-economic development may be driving the ecologic association between CS rates and mortality. On the other hand, at rates higher than this threshold, there is no association between CS and mortality outcomes regardless of adjustment. The ecological association between CS rates and relevant morbidity outcomes needs to be evaluated before drawing more definite conclusions at population level.
The progress in key maternal health indicators in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) over the past two decades has been slow. This paper analyzed available information on nutrition programs and nutrition-specific interventions targeting maternal nutrition in the ESAR and proposes steps to improve maternal nutrition in this region. Findings from the review suggest that multiple nutrition programs are in place in the ESAR; including programs that directly address nutrition indicators and those that integrate corresponding sectors like agriculture, health, education, and water and sanitation. However, their scale and depth differ considerably. These programs have been implemented by a diverse range of players including respective government ministries, international agencies, non government organisations and the private sector in the region. Most of these programs are clustered in a few countries like Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia while others e.g. Comoros, Somalia and Swaziland have only had a limited number of initiatives.
Dr Nat Segaren - Medical Director of the Caris Foundation, presents on 'The Haiti National Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV Program'
A review of e-health interventions for maternal and child health (MCH) to explore their influence on MCH practices in sub-Sahara Africa found a total of 18 relevant articles. Findings suggeswt that there is a need to move the application of ICT for MCH care from pilot initiatives to interventions involving all stakeholders on a sub-regional scale. These interventions should also adopt an integrated approach that takes care of the information needs at every stage along the continuum of care. It is anticipated that the study would be useful in the evolution and implementation of future ICT-based programmes for MCH in the region.
Rubella remains an important pathogen worldwide, with roughly 100 000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome estimated to occur every year. This seminar present results regarding rubella control, elimination, and eradication policies, and a brief review of new laboratory diagnostics.
Breastfeeding practice and associated factors among female nurses and midwives at North Gondar Zone, Northwest Ethiopia. A Cross sectional institution based study.by Berihun Assefa Dachew, Behanu Boru Bifftu
In 2013, the WHO released a new set of guidelines on the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS. The new guidelines suggests that all pregnant women who test positive for HIV should immediately begin a course of triple ARVs, regardless of CD4 cell levels.
Moleen Zunza is a member of the Global Research Nurses' network and is part of the team that has published this systematic review.
The recent BMC Public Health supplement “The Lives Saved Tool in 2013: new capabilities and applications” has been published. The series comprise of 30 papers focusing on various domains of maternal child health with a special focus on the interventions reviewed for the prevention and management of childhood diarrhea and penumonia.
The Lancet publishes a special themed issue to coincide with the third Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 28–30, 2013. Women Deliver brings together voices from around the world to generate political commitment and resource investments to improve the health and well-being of girls and women and achieve universal access to reproductive health. The studies published in The Lancet's themed issue use different methods to show the multidimensional nature of reproductive health and the influence of social determinants and health systems.
Translating Coverage Gains into Health Gains for All Women and Children: The Quality Care Opportunityby Jai K Das
The health outcomes of women and children have not matched expectations from the gains in the coverage of care. Robust evidence exists for one explanatory factor: the poor–rich gaps in coverage found along the continuum of care for women and children, and particularly for the crucial period around childbirth. The more-neglected explanation for the mismatch between coverage and health outcomes is the quality of the care provided to women and children. The following paper is structured around a key cause and a consequence of the neglect of quality—weak measurement and poor evidence for action—and concludes with priorities for seizing the quality care opportunity.