Neonatal and Infant Mortality Risk Associated with Preterm and Small for Gestational Age Births in Tanzania: Individual Level Pooled Analysis Using the Intergrowth Standard

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the risk of newborn and infant mortality associated with preterm, small for gestational age (SGA), and low birth weight (LBW) stratified by maternal HIV status and the location of birth.

Study design

We created a prospective cohort by pooling 5 individually randomized trials. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate the risk of mortality for SGA defined using the recently published Intergrowth standard, preterm, LBW, and gestational age and size for gestational age categories (preterm- appropriate for gestational age [AGA], term-SGA, and preterm-SGA). Effect modification by maternal HIV status and place of residence was assessed using the likelihood ratio test.

Results

Of the 31 988 infants, 15.3% were preterm, 16.6% were SGA, and 7.3% were LBW. The proportion of preterm and SGA births was higher among the HIV-infected cohort than in the uninfected cohort. Compared with term-AGA groups, infants born both preterm and SGA had a greater risk of neonatal mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 5.43, 95% CI 2.01-14.63) than preterm-AGA infants (HR 2.40, 95% CI 1.89-3.05) and term-SGA infants (HR 2.56, 95% CI 1.96-3.34). Maternal HIV infection modified the risk of infant mortality associated with being born preterm or LBW, with a higher relative risk among those born to HIV-uninfected women. Rural residence significantly modified the risk of neonatal mortality associated with being LBW (P for interaction = .005).

Conclusions

Preterm and SGA newborns had an increased risk of mortality during the first year of life. Interventions targeting these conditions, especially in HIV-exposed and rural populations, should be integrated into existing maternal and child health programs.

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