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P N G Med J. 1998 Sep-Dec;41(3-4):126-36.

A case-control study of stillbirths at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

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Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Port Moresby General Hospital, Papua New Guinea.


From September 1995 to May 1997, 315 consecutive stillbirths and 315 randomly selected controls were studied at the Port Moresby General Hospital to determine the causes of the deaths, to describe the sociodemographic and reproductive characteristics of the mothers, and to see if there were any avoidable factors in the stillbirths and where the responsibility for them lay. 249 (79%) of the stillbirths were antepartum and 14% were intrapartum; the timing of death could not be determined in the remaining 21 (7%). 36% of the stillbirths were unexplained. The common identified causes were: syphilis (VDRL and TPHA positive) 10%, intrauterine growth restriction/placental insufficiency 9%, antepartum haemorrhage 9%, malaria 6%, major congenital abnormalities 6%, cord accidents 6%, pregnancy-induced hypertension 5% and acute intrapartum asphyxia 4%. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed a significant association between stillbirth and the following variables: husband's occupation unskilled, age over 35 years, poor antenatal attendance, a past history of stillbirth, syphilis and malaria. An avoidable factor was established in 41% of the cases; in 60% the responsibility for the avoidable factor lay with the patient and her relatives.

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