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Introduction: preterm birth is a dire complication of pregnancy that poses huge long-term medical and financial burdens for affected children, their families, and the health care system. The aim of the present study was to identify characteristics associated with preterm births at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos, Nigeria from 2011 to 2013.
Methods: we obtained Information from 5,561 maternal, fetal/neonatal and obstetric records from the labor ward. We excluded delivery at less than 22 weeks (0.25%), post-term birth at ≥42 weeks gestation (1.3%), and unknown gestation (1.4%). Additionally, we excluded records of multiple births (5.4%) and stillbirths (8.3%) leaving 4,691 records of singleton live-births for analysis. Logistic regression analysis was performed comparing preterm birth (22-36 weeks gestation) to term birth (37-41 weeks gestation). Multiple variable models adjusting for maternal age, parity, fetal position, delivery method and booking status were also evaluated. Multinomial regression was used to identify characteristics associated with preterm birth (PTB) defined as early PTB (22-31 weeks gestation), moderate PTB (32-34 weeks gestation), late PTB (35-36 weeks gestation), compared to term birth (37-41 completed weeks gestation).
Results: from our data, 16.8% of the singleton live-birth deliveries were preterm (<37 weeks gestation). Of these, 4.7% were early (22-31 weeks), 4.5% were moderate (32-34 weeks) and 7.7% were late (35-36) PTBs. Older maternal age (≥35 years) [odds ratio (OR) = 1.41], hypertension (OR = 3.44) and rupture of membranes (OR = 4.03) were significantly associated with increased odds of PTB. Women being treated for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV were at a significantly decreased risk for PTB (OR = 0.70). Sixteen percent of women in this cohort were not registered for antenatal care in LUTH. These non-registered subjects had significantly greater odds of all categories of PTB, including early (odds ratio (OR) = 20.8), moderate (OR = 8.68), and late (OR = 2.15).
Conclusion: PTB and risks for PTB remain high in Nigeria. We recommend that any high risk pregnancy should be referred to a tertiary center for prenatal care in order to significantly reduce adverse birth outcomes such as PTBs.