Perinatal deaths and insufficient antenatal care in Latvia


Address for correspondence: Maira Jansone
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medical Academy of Latvia
Dzirciema Street, 16
Riga, LV 1003


Objective. A national audit on perinatal deaths was performed to assess the quality of antenatal care, and to suggest measures for improved antenatal care.

Material and methods. Medical records of all the perinatal deaths in Latvia in the years 1995–1996 have been studied. Non-attenders and attenders of antenatal care were characterized by socio-economic and medical variables: maternal age, parity, history of perinatal outcome, health status and behavioral hazards during the index pregnancy, length of gestation and birth weight. The Nordic-Baltic perinatal death classification was used.

Results. In 85 of 442 cases (19%) of perinatal deaths women had not taken advantage of antenatal care provided for them. Non-attenders were more likely to be smokers (p<0.001) and alcohol abusers (p<0.005), above 35 years of age (p<0.005), and had higher parity (p<0.001). Non-attenders more often had systemic diseases and pregnancy complications. Neonatal complications, such as congenital syphilis (p<0.05) and other infections (p<0.05), were more common among non-attenders. There was no difference in rates of preterm birth and low birth weight between attenders and non-attenders.

Conclusions. One fifth of mothers with perinatal death did not attend ANC, and in some women who attended ANC, lack of intervention was related to the perinatal death.