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      Preconception care: closing the gap in the continuum of care to accelerate improvements in maternal, newborn and child health

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          Preconception care includes any intervention to optimize a woman’s health before pregnancy with the aim to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) outcomes. Preconception care bridges the gap in the continuum of care, and addresses pre-pregnancy health risks and health problems that could have negative maternal and fetal consequences. It therefore has potential to further reduce global maternal and child mortality and morbidity, especially in low-income countries where the highest burden of pregnancy-related deaths and disability occurs.

          Methods

          A systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence was conducted to ascertain the possible impact of preconception care for adolescents, women and couples of reproductive age on MNCH outcomes. A comprehensive strategy was used to search electronic reference libraries, and both observational and clinical controlled trials were included. Cross-referencing and a separate search strategy for each preconception risk and intervention ensured wider study capture.

          Results

          Women who received preconception care in either a healthcare center or the community showed improved outcomes, such as smoking cessation; increased use of folic acid; breastfeeding; greater odds of obtaining antenatal care; and lower rates of neonatal mortality.

          Conclusion

          Preconception care is effective in improving pregnancy outcomes. Further studies are needed to evaluate consistency and magnitude of effect in different contexts; develop and assess new preconception interventions; and to establish guidelines for the provision of preconception care.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, and under-5 mortality for 187 countries, 1970-2010: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4.

          Previous assessments have highlighted that less than a quarter of countries are on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4), which calls for a two-thirds reduction in mortality in children younger than 5 years between 1990 and 2015. In view of policy initiatives and investments made since 2000, it is important to see if there is acceleration towards the MDG 4 target. We assessed levels and trends in child mortality for 187 countries from 1970 to 2010. We compiled a database of 16 174 measurements of mortality in children younger than 5 years for 187 countries from 1970 to 2009, by use of data from all available sources, including vital registration systems, summary birth histories in censuses and surveys, and complete birth histories. We used Gaussian process regression to generate estimates of the probability of death between birth and age 5 years. This is the first study that uses Gaussian process regression to estimate child mortality, and this technique has better out-of-sample predictive validity than do previous methods and captures uncertainty caused by sampling and non-sampling error across data types. Neonatal, postneonatal, and childhood mortality was estimated from mortality in children younger than 5 years by use of the 1760 measurements from vital registration systems and complete birth histories that contained specific information about neonatal and postneonatal mortality. Worldwide mortality in children younger than 5 years has dropped from 11.9 million deaths in 1990 to 7.7 million deaths in 2010, consisting of 3.1 million neonatal deaths, 2.3 million postneonatal deaths, and 2.3 million childhood deaths (deaths in children aged 1-4 years). 33.0% of deaths in children younger than 5 years occur in south Asia and 49.6% occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with less than 1% of deaths occurring in high-income countries. Across 21 regions of the world, rates of neonatal, postneonatal, and childhood mortality are declining. The global decline from 1990 to 2010 is 2.1% per year for neonatal mortality, 2.3% for postneonatal mortality, and 2.2% for childhood mortality. In 13 regions of the world, including all regions in sub-Saharan Africa, there is evidence of accelerating declines from 2000 to 2010 compared with 1990 to 2000. Within sub-Saharan Africa, rates of decline have increased by more than 1% in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and The Gambia. Robust measurement of mortality in children younger than 5 years shows that accelerating declines are occurring in several low-income countries. These positive developments deserve attention and might need enhanced policy attention and resources. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Effect of community-based newborn-care intervention package implemented through two service-delivery strategies in Sylhet district, Bangladesh: a cluster-randomised controlled trial.

            Neonatal mortality accounts for a high proportion of deaths in children under the age of 5 years in Bangladesh. Therefore the project for advancing the health of newborns and mothers (Projahnmo) implemented a community-based intervention package through government and non-government organisation infrastructures to reduce neonatal mortality. In Sylhet district, 24 clusters (with a population of about 20 000 each) were randomly assigned in equal numbers to one of two intervention arms or to the comparison arm. Because of the study design, masking was not feasible. All married women of reproductive age (15-49 years) were eligible to participate. In the home-care arm, female community health workers (one per 4000 population) identified pregnant women, made two antenatal home visits to promote birth and newborn-care preparedness, made postnatal home visits to assess newborns on the first, third, and seventh days of birth, and referred or treated sick neonates. In the community-care arm, birth and newborn-care preparedness and careseeking from qualified providers were promoted solely through group sessions held by female and male community mobilisers. The primary outcome was reduction in neonatal mortality. Analysis was by intention to treat. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number 00198705. The number of clusters per arm was eight. The number of participants was 36059, 40159, and 37598 in the home-care, community-care, and comparison arms, respectively, with 14 769, 16 325, and 15 350 livebirths, respectively. In the last 6 months of the 30-month intervention, neonatal mortality rates were 29.2 per 1000, 45.2 per 1000, and 43.5 per 1000 in the home-care, community-care, and comparison arms, respectively. Neonatal mortality was reduced in the home-care arm by 34% (adjusted relative risk 0.66; 95% CI 0.47-0.93) during the last 6 months versus that in the comparison arm. No mortality reduction was noted in the community-care arm (0.95; 0.69-1.31). A home-care strategy to promote an integrated package of preventive and curative newborn care is effective in reducing neonatal mortality in communities with a weak health system, low health-care use, and high neonatal mortality.
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              Maternal obesity and risk of cesarean delivery: a meta-analysis.

              Despite numerous studies reporting an increased risk of cesarean delivery among overweight or obese compared with normal weight women, the magnitude of the association remains uncertain. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis of the current literature to provide a quantitative estimate of this association. We identified studies from three sources: (i) a PubMed search of relevant articles published between January 1980 and September 2005; (ii) reference lists of publications selected from the search; and (iii) reference lists of review articles published between 2000 and 2005. We included cohort designed studies that reported obesity measures reflecting pregnancy body mass, had a normal weight comparison group, and presented data allowing a quantitative measurement of risk. We used a Bayesian random effects model to perform the meta-analysis and meta-regression. Thirty-three studies were included. The unadjusted odd ratios of a cesarean delivery were 1.46 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.34-1.60], 2.05 (95% CI: 1.86-2.27) and 2.89 (95% CI: 2.28-3.79) among overweight, obese and severely obese women, respectively, compared with normal weight pregnant women. The meta-regression found no evidence that these estimates were affected by selected study characteristics. Our findings provide a quantitative estimate of the risk of cesarean delivery associated with high maternal body mass.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Reprod Health
                Reprod Health
                Reproductive Health
                BioMed Central
                1742-4755
                2014
                26 September 2014
                : 11
                : Suppl 3
                : S1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Division of Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University Karachi, Pakistan
                Article
                1742-4755-11-S3-S1
                10.1186/1742-4755-11-S3-S1
                4196556
                Copyright © 2014 Dean et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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