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Prevalence and perinatal mortality associated with preterm births in a tertiary medical center in South East Nigeria

Authors Iyoke CA, Lawani OL, Ezugwu EC, Ilechukwu G, Nkwo PO, Mba SG, Asinobi IN

Received 4 August 2014

Accepted for publication 23 August 2014

Published 17 October 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 881—888


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Chukwuemeka Anthony Iyoke,1 Osaheni Lucky Lawani,2 Euzebus Chinonye Ezugwu,1 Gideon Ilechukwu,3 Peter Onubiwe Nkwo,1 Sunday Gabriel Mba,1 Isaac Nwabueze Asinobi4

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria; 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria; 3Department of Paediatrics, Whiston Hospital, St Helen's and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot, Lancashire, UK; 4Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria

Background: Preterm birth is a high risk condition associated with significant mortality and morbidity in the perinatal, neonatal, and childhood periods, and even in adulthood. Knowledge of the epidemiology of preterm births is necessary for planning appropriate maternal and fetal care.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, pattern, and perinatal mortality associated with preterm births at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, South East Nigeria.
Methods: This was a review of prospectively collected routine delivery data involving preterm deliveries that occurred between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2013. Data analysis involved descriptive and inferential statistics at 95% level of confidence using SPSS version 17.0 for Windows.
Results: There were 3,760 live births over the 5-year study period out of which 636 were preterm births, giving a prevalence rate of 16.9%. Spontaneous preterm births occurred in approximately 57% of preterm births while provider-initiated births occurred in 43%. The mean gestational age at preterm deliveries was 32.6±3.2 weeks while the mean birth weight was 2.0±0.8 kilograms. Approximately 89% of preterm births involved singleton pregnancies. Sixty-eight percent of preterm births were moderate to late preterm. The male:female ratio of preterm babies born during the period was 1.2:1. The adjusted perinatal mortality rate for preterm babies in the study center was 46.1% (236/512). The stillbirth rate for preterm babies was 22.0% (149/678) and the adjusted early neonatal death rate was 24.0% (87/363).
Conclusion: The prevalence of preterm births and associated perinatal mortality were high which may be a reflection of suboptimal prenatal and newborn care. An urgent improvement in prenatal and newborn care is therefore needed in the study center in order to improve the capacity to prevent or abate preterm labor, and preterm premature rupture of membranes; and to reduce avoidable stillbirths. Further upgrading of personnel and facilities in the newborn special care unit is also required to minimize early neonatal deaths.

Keywords: preterm birth, prevalence, mortality, pattern, Nigeria

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