Intrapartum complications increase the risk of perinatal deaths. However, population-based data from developing countries assessing the contribution of intrapartum complications to perinatal deaths is scarce.
Using data from a cohort of pregnant women followed between 2011 and 2013 in Bangladesh, this study examined the rate and types of intrapartum complications, the association of intrapartum complications with perinatal mortality, and if facility delivery modified the risk of intrapartum-related perinatal deaths. Trained community health workers (CHWs) made two-monthly home visits to identify pregnant women, visited them twice during pregnancy and 10 times in the first two months postpartum. During prenatal visits, CHWs collected data on women’s prior obstetric history, socio-demographic status, and complications during pregnancy. They collected data on intrapartum complications, delivery care, and pregnancy outcome during the first postnatal visit within 7 days of delivery. We examined the association of intrapartum complications and facility delivery with perinatal mortality by estimating odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusting for covariates using multivariable logistic regression analysis.
The overall facility delivery rate was low (3922/24 271; 16.2%). Any intrapartum complications among pregnant women were 20.9% (5,061/24,271) and perinatal mortality was 64.7 per 1000 birth. Compared to women who delivered at home, the risk of perinatal mortality was 2.4 times higher (OR = 2.40; 95% CI = 2.08-2.76) when delivered in a public health facility and 1.3 times higher (OR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.06-1.64) when delivered in a private health facility. Compared to women who had no intrapartum complications and delivered at home, women with intrapartum complications who delivered at home had a substantially higher risk of perinatal mortality (OR = 3.45; 95% CI = 3.04-3.91). Compared to women with intrapartum complications who delivered at home, the risk of perinatal mortality among women with intrapartum complications was 43.0% lower for women who delivered in a public health facility (OR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.42-0.78) and 58.0% lower when delivered in a private health facility (OR = 0.42; 95% CI = 0.28-0.63).
Maternal health programs need to promote timely recognition of intrapartum complications and delivery in health facilities to improve perinatal outcomes, particularly in populations where overall facility delivery rates are low. The differential risk between public and private health facilities may be due to differences in quality of care. Efforts should be made to improve the quality of care in all health facilities.