, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 455-461

Risk factors for stillbirths in a rural community

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To determine the risk factors for stillbirth, a case-control study was carried out in a rural community of Haryana. Stillbirths (cases) were identified retrospectively from a household survey, while the controls, matched individually with each case for the month of birth, were live born infants from the same neightbourhood as the case. The stillbirth rate in the study population was 26.8 per 1000 (68/2539) births. The distribution of socio-economic and environmental factors was similar in the cases and the controls (P>0.05). Multivariate analysis indicated higher risk of stillbirth for first order births (Odds Ratio [OR] 7.9, Confidence Interval [Cl] 2.1-29.2, P 0.002), history of prior stillbirths/child deaths (OR 15.2, Cl 2.3-98.2, P 0.004), and absence of antenatal care (OR 3.3, Cl 0.9-14.3, P 0.07). Mothers' age, birth interval (<24 months), delivery place (hospital or home) and type of birth attendant (trained vs untrained) did not show significant influence on the risk of stillbirth. An improvement in the coverage of antenatal care in socio-economically weaker rural community is suggested as the most appropriate strategy for reducing the high stillbirth rate.