Birthweight-specific neonatal mortality in developing countries and obstetric practices

H. K. Straughn, R. L. Goldenberg, J. E. Tolosa, S. Daly, J. De Codes, M. R. Festin, S. Limpongsanurak, P. Lumbiganon, V. K. Paul, A. Peedicayil, M. Purwar, J. C. Sabogal, S. Shenoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate birthweight-specific neonatal mortality and perinatal interventions in major medical centers in developed and developing countries. Methods: A survey was developed and electronically mailed to 13 medical centers participating in the Global Network for Perinatal and Reproductive Health (GNPRH). The ability of a center to provide requested data was assessed. The mortality rates and use of specific perinatal interventions in centers in developing countries were compared with developed countries. Results: Nine centers in developing countries responded to the survey, and three centers in developed countries were used for comparison. Data collection was highly variable. Most developing country centers were able to provide data by birthweight but not by gestational age. The differences in mortality rates between developing and developed countries were more pronounced at lower gestational ages and birthweights. A difference was found in perinatal interventions between developing and developed countries. In the former, viability was generally considered 28 weeks, and the gestational age at which cesarean sections were usually performed for the sake of the fetus at preterm gestations varied from 26 to 37 weeks. Most centers did not routinely induce for pPROM; only five out of nine centers used antibiotics to prolong latency. Most centers used tocolysis beginning at 26-28 weeks through 32-37 weeks, and a variety of tocolytic agents were used. Most centers routinely used corticosteroids for preterm infants, and all centers employed repeat weekly steroid dosing if undelivered. Conclusions: Despite the fact that the GNPRH centers included in this study represent some of the best health care available in these countries, they lag far behind centers in developed countries in neonatal mortality rates and their use of various obstetric practices. Furthermore, incomplete and inconsistent data collection complicates the evaluation of the factors contributing to high neonatal mortality rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Developing countries
  • Neonatal mortality
  • Prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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