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 study objectives were to determine perinatal outcomes after an OUD diagnosis and associations between opioid agonist treatment and birth outcomes. Findings suggest that perinatal OUD in British Columbia tripled in incidence over a 20-year period. Sustained opioid agonist treatment during pregnancy reduced the risk of adverse birth outcomes, highlighting the need for expanded services, including opioid agonist treatment to support mothers and infants.
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.
The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of race and ethnicity on differences in maternal and perinatal outcomes among U.S.-born and foreign-born women, as well as racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes within these groups. Overall, women born in the United States are at higher risk of several adverse perinatal outcomes compared to foreign-born women. Racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes exist in both groups. However, the complex interplay between biopsychosocial influences that mediate these inequities appear to have different effects among U.S- and foreign- born women. A better understanding of these factors can be used to combat disparities and improve outcomes for all women.
An assessment of geographical access and factors influencing travel time to emergency obstetric care in the urban state of Lagos, Nigeriaby Banke-Thomas et al.
The study objectives were to estimate more realistic travel times for pregnant women in emergency situations using Google Maps, determine system-level factors that influence travel time and use these estimates to assess CEmOC geographical accessibility and coverage in Lagos state, Nigeria. Findings suggest that actions taken to address gaps need to be contextualized. Our approach provides a useful guide for stakeholders seeking to comprehensively explore geographical inequities in CEmOC access within urban/peri-urban LMIC settings.
Effects of short birth interval on neonatal, infant and under-five child mortality in Ethiopia: a nationally representative observational study using inverse probability of treatment weightingby Shifti DM et al.
The objective of the study was to assess the effect of short birth interval (SBI) on neonatal, infant, and under-five mortality in Ethiopia. Findings suggest that SBI has a significant effect on neonatal, infant and under-five mortality in Ethiopia. Interventions targeting SBI are warranted to reduce neonatal, infant and under-five mortality.
This study aimed to quantify any independent association between COVID-19 during pregnancy and preeclampsia and to determine the effect of these variables on maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Findings from this study suggests that COVID-19 during pregnancy is strongly associated with preeclampsia, especially among nulliparous women. This association is independent of any risk factors and preexisting conditions. COVID-19 severity does not seem to be a factor in this association. Both conditions are associated independently of and in an additive fashion with preterm birth, severe perinatal morbidity and mortality, and adverse maternal outcomes. Women with preeclampsia should be considered a particularly vulnerable group with regard to the risks posed by COVID-19.
The objective of this study is to describe infant mortality among opioid-exposed infants and identify how mortality risk differs in opioid-exposed infants with and without a diagnosis of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) compared with infants without opioid exposure. In this study, opioid-exposed infants appeared to be at increased risk of mortality, and the treatments and supports provided to those diagnosed with NOWS may be protective. Interventions to support opioid-exposed maternal-infant dyads are warranted, regardless of the perceived severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal.
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.
A cross-national study of factors associated with women's perinatal mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemicby Basu et al
This international study sought to identify and measure the associations between pandemic-related information seeking, worries, and prevention behaviors on perinatal mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. An anonymous, online, cross-sectional survey of pregnant and postpartum women was conducted in 64 countries between May 26, 2020 and June 13, 2020. Based on the study findings, public health campaigns and medical care systems need to explicitly address the impact of COVID-19 related stressors on mental health in perinatal women, as prevention of viral exposure itself does not mitigate the pandemic's mental health impact.
The effect of sexual health education on sexual activity, sexual quality of life, and sexual violence in pregnancy: a prospective randomized controlled trialby Alizadeh et al
This randomized, longitudinal, clinical trial was carried out in 2018-2019 on 154 pregnant women in early to late pregnancy who presented to comprehensive health centers in Rasht, Iran, and were divided into three groups: Group A or the training group (50 participants), Group B or the self-training group (53 participants), and Group C or the control group (51 participants). The results obtained in the intervention group compared to the control group revealed the effectiveness of the sexual health education package in terms of improvement in the dimensions of sexual health. According to the results, in order to maintain and promote the sexual health of pregnant women, health care providers are recommended to offer sexual health training during pregnancy along with other health care services.
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.
Trends in missing females at birth in India from 1981 to 2016: analyses of 2·1 million birth histories in nationally representative surveysby Nandita Saikia et al
The authors sought to document the trends in missing female births, particularly among second and third children, at national and state levels. Findings suggest that in contrast to the substantial improvements in female child mortality in India, missing female births, driven by selective abortion of female fetuses, continues to increase across the states. Inclusion of a question on sex composition of births in the forthcoming census would provide local information on sex-selective abortion in each village and urban area of the country.
The authors assessed the effectiveness of a baby-friendly workplace support intervention on EBF in Kenya. This pre-post intervention study was conducted between 2016 and 2018 on an agricultural farm in Kericho County. The study included 270 and 146 mother-child dyads in the nontreated (preintervention) group and treated (intervention) group, respectively. The prevalence of EBF was higher in the treated group (80.8%) than in the nontreated group (20.2%); corresponding to a fourfold increased probability of EBF [risk ratio (RR) 3.90; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.95-5.15]. The effect of the intervention was stronger among children aged 3-5 months (RR 8.13; 95% CI 4.23-15.64) than among those aged <3 months (RR 2.79; 95% CI 2.09-3.73). The baby-friendly workplace support intervention promoted EBF especially beyond 3 months in this setting.
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.