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J Trop Pediatr. 2008 Oct;54(5):321-7. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmn027. Epub 2008 Apr 27.

Birth interval and risk of stillbirth or neonatal death: findings from rural north India.

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Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Short birth intervals have been associated with adverse birth outcomes. This study examines the association between preceding interval and risk of stillbirth or neonatal death in rural north India (n = 80 164). Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of stillbirth and neonatal mortality were calculated. The odds of stillbirth were significantly greater among birth intervals of <18 months (OR 3.10; CI: 2.69-3.57), 18-35 months (OR 1.47; CI 1.30-1.68) and >59 months (OR 1.44; CI 1.19-1.73), compared with intervals of 36-59 months. Neonatal death was associated with birth intervals of <18 months (OR 4.12; CI 3.74-4.55) and 18-35 months (OR 1.78; CI 1.63-1.94), compared to births spaced 36-59 months. Previous history of either stillbirth or neonatal death was significantly associated with risk of stillbirth and neonatal death, respectively, as were multiple births.

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