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Concept: Stillbirth


To collate and critically appraise extant evidence for the impact of contact with the stillborn infant on parental mental health, well-being and satisfaction.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Infant, Critical thinking, Infancy, Stillbirth


Introduction Nigeria contributes more obstetric, postpartum and neonatal deaths and stillbirths globally than any other country. The Clinton Health Access Initiative in partnership with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and the state Governments of Kano, Katsina, and Kaduna implemented an integrated Maternal and Neonatal Health program from July 2014. Up to 90% women deliver at home in Northern Nigeria, where maternal mortality ratio and neonatal mortality rates (MMR and NMR) are high and severe challenges to improving survival exist. Methods Community-based leaders (“key informants”) reported monthly vital events. Pre-post comparisons of later (months 16-18) with conservative baseline (months 7-9) rates were used to assess change in MMR, NMR, perinatal mortality (PMR) and stillbirth. Two-tailed cross-tabulations and unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression analyses were conducted. Results Data on 147,455 births (144,641 livebirths and 4275 stillbirths) were analyzed. At endline (months 16-18), MMR declined 37% (OR 0.629, 95% CI 0.490-0.806, p ≤ 0.0003) vs. baseline 440/100,000 births (months 7-9). NMR declined 43% (OR 0.574, 95% CI 0.503-0.655, p < 0.0001 vs. baseline 15.2/1000 livebirths. Stillbirth rates declined 15% (OR 0.850, 95% CI 0.768-0.941, p = 0.0018) vs. baseline 21.1/1000 births. PMR declined 27% (OR 0.733, 95% CI 0.676-0.795, p < 0.0001) vs. baseline 36.0/1000 births. Adjusted results were similar. Discussion The findings are similar to the Cochrane Review effects of community-based interventions and indicate large survival improvements compared to much slower global and flat national trends. Key informant data have limitations, however, their limitations would have little effect on the results magnitude or significance.

Concepts: Death, Mortality rate, Demography, Nigeria, Obstetrics, Maternal death, Perinatal mortality, Stillbirth


In 2013, the stillbirth rate in the UK was 4.2 per 1000 live births, ranking 24th out of 49 high-income countries, with an annual rate of reduction of only 1.4% per year. The majority of stillbirths occur in normally formed infants, with (retrospective) evidence of placental insufficiency the most common clinical finding. Maternal perception of reduced fetal movements (RFM) is associated with placental insufficiency and increased risk of subsequent stillbirth.This study will test the hypothesis that the introduction of a package of care to increase women’s awareness of the need for prompt reporting of RFM and standardised management to identify fetal compromise with timely delivery in confirmed cases, will reduce the rate of stillbirth. Following the introduction of a similar intervention in Norway the odds of stillbirth fell by 30%, but the efficacy of this intervention (and possible adverse effects and implications for service delivery) has not been tested in a randomised trial.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Randomized controlled trial, Abortion, Stillbirth, Live birth


The development of new methods to cryopreserve human ovarian cortex tissues without damage is needed for the improvement of quality of life of female cancer patients. Here, we show that stable expressions of nine genes within human oocytes by using a supercooling procedure are necessary in order to produce human mature eggs and experience live births with high safety profiles by in vitro fertilisation. Our method will be helpful in order to preserve the fertility of female cancer patients or healthy women.

Concepts: Biology, Life, Demography, Spermatozoon, In vitro fertilisation, Abortion, Stillbirth, Live birth


Sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI) assessed by sperm chromatin structure assay is a valuable tool for prediction of fertility in vivo. Previous studies on DFI as predictor of in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome, based on relatively small materials, gave contradictory results. The present study examines, in a large cohort, the association between sperm DFI and the outcome of IVF/ICSI procedure. The study is based on 1633 IVF or ICSI cycles performed at the Reproductive Medicine Centre, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden, between May 2007 and March 2013. DFI values were categorized into four intervals: DFI ≤ 10% (reference group), 10% < DFI ≤ 20%, 20% < DFI ≤ 30%, DFI > 30%. For the three latter intervals, the following outcomes of IVF/ICSI procedures were analyzed in relation to the reference group: fertilization, good quality embryo, pregnancy, miscarriage, and live births. In the standard IVF group, a significant negative association between DFI and fertilization rate was found. When calculated per ovum pick-up (OPU) Odds Ratios (ORs) for at least one good quality embryo (GQE) were significantly lower in the standard IVF group if DFI > 20%. OR for live birth calculated per OPU was significantly lower in standard IVF group if DFI > 20% (OR 0.61; 95% CI: 0.38-0.97; p = 0.04). No such associations were seen in the ICSI group. OR for live birth by ICSI compared to IVF were statistically significantly higher for DFI > 20% (OR 1.7; 95% CI: 1.0-2.9; p = 0.05). OR for miscarriage was significantly increased for DFI > 40% (OR 3.8; 95% CI: 1.2-12; p = 0.02). The results suggest that ICSI might be a preferred method of in vitro treatment in cases with high DFI. Efforts should be made to find options for pharmacologically induced reduction of DFI. The study was based on retrospectively collected data and prospective studies confirming the superiority of ICSI in cases with high DFI are warranted.

Concepts: DNA, Pregnancy, Reproduction, Obstetrics, Fertility, Abortion, Stillbirth, Live birth


In resource-poor settings, the provision of basic maternity care within health centres is often a challenge. Despite the difficulties, Nepal reduced its maternal mortality ratio by 80% from 850 to an estimated 170 per 100,000 live births between 1991 and 2011 to achieve Millennium Development Goal Five. One group that has been credited for this is community health workers, known as Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs), who form an integral part of the government healthcare system. This qualitative study explores the role of FCHVs in maternal healthcare provision in two regions: the Hill and Terai.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Healthcare, Demography, Obstetrics, Maternal death, Millennium Development Goals, Stillbirth


The burden of maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa is very high. In Ghana maternal mortality ratio was 380 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013. Skilled birth attendance has been shown to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, yet in 2010 only 68 percent of mothers in Ghana gave birth with the assistance of skilled birth attendants. In 2005, the Ghana Health Service piloted a strategy that involved using the integrated Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) program and training Community Health Officers (CHOs) as midwives to address the gap in skilled attendance in rural Upper East Region (UER). The study assesses the feasibility of and extent to which the skilled delivery program has been implemented as an integrated component of the existing CHPS, and documents the benefits and challenges of the integrated program.

Concepts: Childbirth, Death, Africa, Demography, Obstetrics, Abortion, Maternal death, Stillbirth


In Kenya, skilled attendance at delivery is well below the international target of 90% and the maternal mortality ratio is high at 362 (CI 254-471) per 100,000 live births despite various interventions. The preventative role of skilled attendance at delivery makes it a benchmark indicator for safe motherhood.

Concepts: Childbirth, Epidemiology, Demography, Obstetrics, Abortion, Maternal death, Perinatal mortality, Stillbirth


Residential accommodation for expectant mothers adjacent to health facilities, known as maternity waiting homes (MWH), is an intervention designed to improve access to skilled deliveries in low-income countries like Zambia where the maternal mortality ratio is estimated at 398 deaths per 100,000 live births. Our study aimed to assess the relationship between MWH quality and the likelihood of facility delivery in Kalomo and Choma Districts in Southern Province, Zambia.

Concepts: Childbirth, Death, Demography, Abortion, Maternal death, Perinatal mortality, Stillbirth, Sierra Leone


Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world (420 per 100,000 live births in 2013), and unsafe abortion continues to be one of the major causes. To reduce deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortion, Ethiopia liberalized its abortion law in 2005 to allow safe abortion under certain conditions. This study aimed to measure how availability and utilization of safe abortion services has changed in the last decade in Ethiopia.

Concepts: Death, Demography, Obstetrics, Abortion, Maternal death, Stillbirth, Live birth, Our Lady Peace