Modifiable pre-natal risk factors for stillbirth in pregnant women of the Omusati Region, Namibia
Background Reduction of stillbirth rates is one of the major concerns of the government of Namibia because of the social and economic implications of stillbirth. Access to quality antenatal care, especially at primary health care settings, is important in preventing the risk factors associated with stillbirth. This study assessed the prevalence of some of the modifiable risk factors to reveal potential gaps in their prevention. Aim To determine the prevalence of modifiable antenatal risk factors associated with stillbirth in order to determine possible gaps in their prevention. Setting The study was conducted at four district hospitals in the Omusati Region, Namibia. Methods A descriptive study using recorded antenatal data was used. Data was collected from the records of 82 women at the time that they had a stillbirth, during the period October 2013 to December 2014. The assessed risk factors included maternal characteristics, antenatal care received, medical conditions and obstetric complications. Results The study found that 95.1% of women who had a stillbirth had at least one modifiable risk factor. The average prevalence of each of the four categories of risk factors was as follows: quality of antenatal care (19.8%), maternal characteristics (11.4%), medical conditions (8.9%) and obstetric complications (6.5%). The most prevalent individual risk factors included the following: no folate supplementation (30.5%), positive HIV status (25.6%), advanced maternal age (20.7%), grand multigravidity (17.1%), late booking (16.7%), intrauterine foetal growth retardation (13.4%) and alcohol use (12.5%). Conclusion A total of 82.4% of the studied modifiable risk factors were prevalent among women who had a stillbirth. Risk factors associated with quality of antenatal care were the most prevalent. While further investigation is needed to determine the causes behind the most prevalent risk factors, health education on the availability and benefits of antenatal care, pregnancy timing and pregnancy spacing may contribute to the reduction of the prevalence of these risk factors.