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Early pregnancy loss in Belagavi, Karnataka, India 2014-2017 A prospective population-based observational study in a low-resource setting

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of early pregnancy loss through miscarriage and medically terminated pregnancy (MTP) is largely unknown due to lack of early registration of pregnancies in most regions, and especially in low- and middle-income countries. Understanding the rates of early pregnancy loss as well as the characteristics of pregnant women who experience miscarriage or MTP can assist in better planning of reproductive health needs of women.

METHODS: A prospective, population-based study was conducted in Belagavi District, south India. Using an active surveillance system of women of childbearing age, all women were enrolled as soon as possible during pregnancy. We evaluated rates and risk factors of miscarriage and MTP between 6 and 20 weeks gestation as well as rates of stillbirth and neonatal death. A hypothetical cohort of 1000 women pregnant at 6 weeks was created to demonstrate the impact of miscarriage and MTP on pregnancy outcome.

RESULTS: A total of 30,166 women enrolled from 2014 to 2017 were included in this analysis. The rate of miscarriage per 1000 ongoing pregnancies between 6 and 8 weeks was 115.3, between 8 and 12 weeks the miscarriage rate was 101.9 per 1000 ongoing pregnancies and between 12 and 20 weeks the miscarriage rate was 60.3 per 1000 ongoing pregnancies. For those periods, the MTP rate was 40.2, 45.4, and 48.3 per 1000 ongoing pregnancies respectively. The stillbirth rate was 26/1000 and the neonatal mortality rate was 24/1000. The majority of miscarriages (96.6%) were unattended and occurred at home. The majority of MTPs occurred in a hospital and with a physician in attendance (69.6%), while 20.7% of MTPs occurred outside a health facility. Women who experienced a miscarriage were older and had a higher level of education but were less likely to be anemic than those with an ongoing pregnancy at 20 weeks. Women with MTP were older, had a higher level of education, higher parity, and higher BMI, compared to those with an ongoing pregnancy, but these results were not consistent across gestational age periods.

CONCLUSIONS: Of women with an ongoing pregnancy at 6 weeks, about 60% will have a living infant at 28 days of age. Two thirds of the losses will be spontaneous miscarriages and one third will be secondary to a MTP. High maternal age and education were the risk factors associated with miscarriage and MTP.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial is registered at clinicaltrials.gov. ClinicalTrial.gov Trial Registration: NCT01073475 .


Dhaded, S. M., Somannavar, M. S., Jacob, J. P., McClure, E. M., Vernekar, S. S., Yogesh Kumar, S., ... Goudar, S. S. (2018). Early pregnancy loss in Belagavi, Karnataka, India 2014-2017: A prospective population-based observational study in a low-resource setting. Reproductive Health, 15(Suppl 1), [95]. DOI: 10.1186/s12978-018-0525-4

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