Central African Journal of Medicine

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The prevalence of preterm births and their perinatal outcomes in two Harare teaching hospitals: a prospective cross sectional survey

M.I. Nyakanda, M.G. Madziyire, T.L. Magwali, B.T. Guzha


Background: Preterm birth has a worldwide incidence of 9.6% and contributes about 33.6% to global perinatal mortality.

Objectives:  The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and associated factors of preterm birth and associated perinatal outcomes.

Design:  A descriptive cross-sectional study.

Settings:  The maternity hospitals of the two tertiary institutions in Harare Zimbabwe; Harare Central and Parirenyatwa hospitals.

Subjects:  Consecutive pregnant women who delivered prematurely (24-36 weeks and 6 days gestation) between16 March and 23 May 2014 were recruited.

Main Outcome Measures: The proportion rate of preterm birth, perinatal mortality rate and perinatal morbidity.

Results: There were 3291 total deliveries and 262 babies were delivered preterm from 255 women giving a crude incidence of 8%.The perinatal mortality rate was 13.7% (9.5/1000 total births) and 60% of these occurred in the 28-32 weeks gestational period. Of the babies born between 28 and 32 weeks 34.6% died by day 7 of birth and their odds of dying was 24 (p < .001) compared to those born between 34 to 37 completed weeks.

Conclusion: This study reports a proportion of preterm birth of 8%. There was a high perinatal mortality mainly affecting the 28 to 32 weeks gestational age category.

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