Association between stillbirth and severe maternal morbidity

Samuel H. Nyarko, Lucy T. Greenberg, Ciaran S. Phibbs, Jeffrey S. Buzas, Scott A. Lorch, Jeannette Rogowski, George R. Saade, Molly Passarella, Nansi S. Boghossian

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Abstract

Background: Severe maternal morbidity has been increasing in the past few decades. Few studies have examined the risk of severe maternal morbidity among individuals with stillbirths vs individuals with live-birth deliveries. Objective: This study aimed to examine the prevalence and risk of severe maternal morbidity among individuals with stillbirths vs individuals with live-birth deliveries during delivery hospitalization as a primary outcome and during the postpartum period as a secondary outcome. Study Design: This was a retrospective cohort study using birth and fetal death certificate data linked to hospital discharge records from California (2008–2018), Michigan (2008–2020), Missouri (2008–2014), Pennsylvania (2008–2014), and South Carolina (2008–2020). Relative risk regression analysis was used to examine the crude and adjusted relative risks of severe maternal morbidity along with 95% confidence intervals among individuals with stillbirths vs individuals with live-birth deliveries, adjusting for birth year, state of residence, maternal sociodemographic characteristics, and the obstetric comorbidity index. Results: Of the 8,694,912 deliveries, 35,012 (0.40%) were stillbirths. Compared with individuals with live-birth deliveries, those with stillbirths were more likely to be non-Hispanic Black (10.8% vs 20.5%); have Medicaid (46.5% vs 52.0%); have pregnancy complications, including preexisting diabetes mellitus (1.1% vs 4.3%), preexisting hypertension (2.3% vs 6.2%), and preeclampsia (4.4% vs 8.4%); have multiple pregnancies (1.6% vs 6.2%); and reside in South Carolina (7.4% vs 11.6%). During delivery hospitalization, the prevalence rates of severe maternal morbidity were 791 cases per 10,000 deliveries for stillbirths and 154 cases per 10,000 deliveries for live-birth deliveries, whereas the prevalence rates for nontransfusion severe maternal morbidity were 502 cases per 10,000 deliveries for stillbirths and 68 cases per 10,000 deliveries for live-birth deliveries. The crude relative risk for severe maternal morbidity was 5.1 (95% confidence interval, 4.9–5.3), whereas the adjusted relative risk was 1.6 (95% confidence interval, 1.5–1.8). For nontransfusion severe maternal morbidity among stillbirths vs live-birth deliveries, the crude relative risk was 7.4 (95% confidence interval, 7.0–7.7), whereas the adjusted relative risk was 2.0 (95% confidence interval, 1.8–2.3). This risk was not only elevated among individuals with stillbirth during the delivery hospitalization but also through 1 year after delivery (severe maternal morbidity adjusted relative risk, 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–1.4; nontransfusion severe maternal morbidity adjusted relative risk, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–1.3). Conclusion: Stillbirth was found to be an important contributor to severe maternal morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364.e1-364.e14
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Volume230
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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