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Risk factors of adverse birth outcomes among a cohort of pregnant women in Coastal Kenya, 2017-2019

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Adverse birth outcomes particularly preterm births and congenital anomalies, are the leading causes of infant mortality globally, and the burden is highest in developing countries. We set out to determine the frequency of adverse birth outcomes and the risk factors associated with such outcomes in a cohort of pregnant women in Kenya.

From October 2017 to July 2019, pregnant women < 28 weeks gestation were enrolled and followed up until delivery in three hospitals in coastal Kenya. Newborns were examined at delivery. Among women with birth outcome data, we assessed the frequency of congenital anomalies defined as gastroschisis, umbilical hernia, limb abnormalities and Trisomy 21, and adverse birth outcomes, defined as either stillbirth, miscarriage, preterm birth, small for gestational age, or microcephaly. We used log-binomial regression to identify maternal characteristics associated with the presence of at least one adverse outcome.

Among the 2312 women enrolled, 1916 (82.9%) had birth outcome data. Overall, 402/1916 (20.9%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 19.1–22.8) pregnancies had adverse birth outcomes. Specifically, 66/1916 (3.4%; 95% CI: 2.7–4.4) were stillbirths, 34/1916 (1.8%; 95% CI: 1.2–2.4) were miscarriages and 23/1816 (1.2%; 95% CI: 0.8–1.9) had congenital anomalies. Among the participants with anthropometric measurements data, 142/1200 (11.8%; 95% CI: 10.1 − 13.8) were small for gestational age and among the participants with ultrasound records, 143/1711 (8.4%; 95% CI: 7.1–9.8) were preterm. Febrile illnesses in current pregnancy (adjusted risk ratio (aRR): 1.7; 95% CI: 1.1–2.8), a history of poor birth outcomes in prior pregnancy (aRR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.3–2.4) and high blood pressure in pregnancy (aRR: 3.9, 95% CI: (1.7–9.2) were independently associated with adverse birth outcomes in a model that included age, education, human immunodeficiency virus status and high blood pressure at enrolment.

We found similar rates of overall adverse birth outcomes, congenital anomalies, and small for gestational age but higher rates of stillbirths and lower rates of prematurity compared to the rates that have been reported in the sub-Saharan Africa region. However, the rates of adverse birth outcomes in this study were comparable to other studies conducted in Kenya. Febrile illnesses during the current pregnancy, previous history of poor birth outcomes and high blood pressure in pregnancy are predictive of an increased risk of adverse birth outcomes.
Journal: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
ISSN: 1471-2393
Volume: 24
Publication year:2024
Keywords:Adverse birth outcomes, Microcephaly, Miscarriage, Preterm birth, Small for gestational age, Stillbirth