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Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Jun;15(6):733-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02534.x. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Effects of severe obstetric complications on women's health and infant mortality in Benin.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.



To document the impact of severe obstetric complications on post-partum health in mothers and mortality in babies over 12 months in Benin and to assess whether severe complications associated with perinatal death are particularly likely to lead to adverse health consequences.


Cohort study which followed women and their babies after a severe complication or an uncomplicated childbirth. Women were selected in hospitals and interviewed at home at discharge, and at 6 and 12 months post-partum. Women were invited for a medical check-up at 6 months and 12 months.


The cohort includes 205 women with severe complications and a live birth, 64 women with severe complications and perinatal death and 440 women with uncomplicated delivery. Women with severe complications and a live birth were not dissimilar to women with a normal delivery in terms of post-partum health, except for hypertension [adjusted OR = 5.8 (1.9-17.0)], fever [adjusted OR = 1.71 (1.1-2.8)] and infant mortality [adjusted OR = 11.0 (0.8-158.2)]. Women with complications and perinatal death were at increased risk of depression [adjusted OR = 3.4 (1.3-9.0)], urine leakages [adjusted OR = 2.7 (1.2-5.8)], and to report poor health [adjusted OR = 5.27 (2.2-12.4)] and pregnancy's negative effects on their life [adjusted OR = 4.11 (1.9-9.0)]. Uptake of post-natal services was poor in all groups.


Women in developing countries face a high risk of severe complications during pregnancy and delivery. These can lead to adverse consequences for their own health and that of their offspring. Resources are needed to ensure that pregnant women receive adequate care before, during and after discharge from hospital. Near-miss women with a perinatal death appear a particularly high-risk group.

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