Introduction: As facility-based deliveries increase globally, maternity registers offer a promising way of documenting pregnancy outcomes and understanding opportunities for perinatal mortality prevention. This study aims to contribute to global quality improvement efforts by characterizing facility-based pregnancy outcomes in Kenya and Uganda including maternal, neonatal, and fetal outcomes at the time of delivery and neonatal discharge outcomes using strengthened maternity registers.
Methods: Cross sectional data were collected from strengthened maternity registers at 23 facilities over 18 months. Data strengthening efforts included provision of supplies, training on standard indicator definitions, and monthly feedback on completeness. Pregnancy outcomes were classified as live births, early stillbirths, late stillbirths, or spontaneous abortions according to birth weight or gestational age. Discharge outcomes were assessed for all live births. Outcomes were assessed by country and by infant, maternal, and facility characteristics. Maternal mortality was also examined.
Results: Among 50,981 deliveries, 91.3% were live born and, of those, 1.6% died before discharge. An additional 0.5% of deliveries were early stillbirths, 3.6% late stillbirths, and 4.7% spontaneous abortions. There were 64 documented maternal deaths (0.1%). Preterm and low birthweight infants represented a disproportionate number of stillbirths and pre-discharge deaths, yet very few were born at ≤1500g or <28w. More pre-discharge deaths and stillbirths occurred after maternal referral and with cesarean section. Half of maternal deaths occurred in women who had undergone cesarean section.
Conclusion: Maternity registers are a valuable data source for understanding pregnancy outcomes including those mothers and infants at highest risk of perinatal mortality. Strengthened register data in Kenya and Uganda highlight the need for renewed focus on improving care of preterm and low birthweight infants and expanding access to emergency obstetric care. Registers also permit enumeration of pregnancy loss <28 weeks. Documenting these earlier losses is an important step towards further mortality reduction for the most vulnerable infants.