International comparisons of preterm birth: higher rates of late preterm birth are associated with lower rates of stillbirth and neonatal death
Article first published online: 19 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology © 2012 RCOG
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 119, Issue 13, pages 1630–1639, December 2012
How to Cite
Lisonkova, S., Sabr, Y., Butler, B. and Joseph, K. (2012), International comparisons of preterm birth: higher rates of late preterm birth are associated with lower rates of stillbirth and neonatal death. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 119: 1630–1639. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03403.x
- Issue published online: 12 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 19 NOV 2012
- Accepted 18 March 2012.
- International comparisons;
- perinatal death;
- preterm birth
Please cite this paper as: Lisonkova S, Sabr Y, Butler B, Joseph K. International comparisons of preterm birth: higher rates of late preterm birth are associated with lower rates of stillbirth and neonatal death. BJOG 2012;119:1630–1639.
Objective To examine international rates of preterm birth and potential associations with stillbirths and neonatal deaths at late preterm and term gestation.
Design Ecological study.
Setting Canada, USA and 26 countries in Europe.
Population All deliveries in 2004.
Methods Information on preterm birth (<37, 32–36, 28–31 and 24–27 weeks of gestation) and perinatal deaths was obtained for 28 countries. Data sources included files and publications from Statistics Canada, the EURO-PERISTAT project and the National Center for Health Statistics. Pearson correlation coefficients and random-intercept Poisson regression were used to examine the association between preterm birth rates and gestational age-specific stillbirth and neonatal death rates. Rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals were estimated after adjustment for maternal age, parity and multiple births.
Main outcome measures Stillbirths and neonatal deaths ≥32 and ≥37 weeks of gestation.
Results International rates of preterm birth (<37 weeks) ranged between 5.3 and 11.4 per 100 live births. Preterm birth rates at 32–36 weeks were inversely associated with stillbirths at ≥32 weeks (adjusted rate ratio 0.94, 95% CI 0.92–0.96) and ≥37 weeks (adjusted rate ratio 0.88, 95% CI 0.85–0.91) of gestation and inversely associated with neonatal deaths at ≥32 weeks (adjusted rate ratio 0.88, 95% CI 0.85–0.91) and ≥37 weeks (adjusted rate ratio 0.82, 95% CI 0.78–0.86) of gestation.
Conclusions Countries with high rates of preterm birth at 32–36 weeks of gestation have lower stillbirth and neonatal death rates at and beyond 32 weeks of gestation. Contemporary rates of preterm birth are indicators of both perinatal health and obstetric care services.