Fetal surveillance from 39 weeks’ gestation to reduce stillbirth in South Asian-born women

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Abstract

Background: In July 2017, the State of Victoria's largest maternity service implemented a new clinical guideline to reduce the rates of stillbirth at term for South Asian women. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the impact of offering fetal surveillance from 39 weeks to South Asian-born women on rates of stillbirth and neonatal and obstetrical interventions. Study Design: This was a cohort study of all women receiving antenatal care at 3 large metropolitan university-affiliated teaching hospitals in Victoria, who gave birth in the term period between January 2016 and December 2020. Differences in rates of stillbirth, neonatal deaths, perinatal morbidities, and interventions after July 2017 were determined. Multigroup interrupted time-series analysis was used to assess changes in rates of stillbirth and induction of labor. Results: A total of 3506 South Asian-born women gave birth before, and 8532 after the change in practice. There was a 64% reduction in term stillbirth (95% confidence interval, 87% to 2%; P=.047) after the change in practice from 2.3 per 1000 births to 0.8 per 1000 births. The rates of early neonatal death (3.1/1000 vs 1.3/1000; P=.03) and special care nursery admission (16.5% vs 11.1%; P<.001) also decreased. There were no significant differences in admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, 5-minute Apgar score <7, or birthweight, or differences in the trends of induction of labor per month. Conclusion: Fetal monitoring from 39 weeks may offer an alternative to routine earlier induction of labor to reduce the rates of stillbirth without causing an increase in neonatal morbidity and attenuating trends in obstetrical interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286.e1-286.e9
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume229
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • fetal monitoring
  • maternity care
  • South Asian women
  • stillbirth

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