Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Research Publications

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    Increase in preterm stillbirths and reduction in iatrogenic preterm births for fetal compromise: a multi-centre cohort study of COVID-19 lockdown effects in Melbourne, Australia
    Hui, L ; Marzan, MB ; Potenza, S ; Rolnik, D ; Pritchard, N ; Said, J ; Palmer, K ; Whitehead, C ; Sheehan, P ; Ford, J ; Mol, B ; Walker, S ( 2021-10-05)

    ABSTRACT

    Objectives

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with a worsening of perinatal outcomes in many settings due to the combined impacts of maternal COVID-19 disease, disruptions to maternity care, and overloaded health systems. In 2020, Melbourne endured a unique natural experiment where strict lockdown conditions were accompanied by very low COVID-19 case numbers and the maintenance of health service capacity. The aim of this study was to compare stillbirth and preterm birth rates in women who were exposed or unexposed to lockdown restrictions during pregnancy.

    Design

    Retrospective multi-centre cohort study of perinatal outcomes before and during COVID-19 lockdown

    Setting

    Birth outcomes from all 12 public maternity hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne

    Inclusion criteria

    Singleton births without congenital anomalies from 24 weeks’ gestation. The lockdown-exposed cohort were those women for whom weeks 20- 40 of gestation would have occurred during the lockdown period of 23 March 2020 to 14 March 2021. The control cohort comprised all pregnancies in the corresponding periods one and two years prior to the exposed cohort.

    Main outcome measures

    Odds of stillbirth, preterm birth (PTB), birth weight < 3 rd centile, and iatrogenic PTB for fetal compromise, adjusting for multiple covariates.

    Results

    There were 24,017 births in the exposed and 50,017 births in the control group. There was a significantly higher risk of preterm, but not term, stillbirth in the exposed group compared with the control group (0.26% vs 0.18%, aOR 1.49, 95%CI 1.08 to 2.05, P = 0.015). There was also a significant reduction in preterm birth < 37 weeks (5.93% vs 6.23%, aOR 0.93, 95%CI 0.87 to 0.99, P=0.03), largely mediated by a reduction in iatrogenic PTB for live births (3.01% vs 3.27%, aOR 0.89, 95%CI 0.81 to 0.98, P = 0.015), including iatrogenic PTB for suspected fetal compromise (1.25% vs 1.51%, aOR 0.79, 95%CI 0.69 to 0.91, P= 0.001). There was no significant difference in the spontaneous PTB rate between the exposed and control groups (2.69% vs 2.82%, aOR 0.94, 95%CI 0.86 to 0.1.03, P=0.25).

    Conclusions

    Lockdown restrictions in a high-income setting, in the absence of high rates of COVID-19 disease, were associated with a significant increase in preterm stillbirths, and a significant reduction in iatrogenic PTB for suspected fetal compromise.

    Trial registration

    This study was registered as an observational study with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12620000878976).
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    Point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve birth outcomes in high-burden, low-income settings: Study protocol for a cluster randomized crossover trial (the WANTAIM Trial, Papua New Guinea).
    Vallely, AJ ; Pomat, WS ; Homer, C ; Guy, R ; Luchters, S ; Mola, GDL ; Kariwiga, G ; Vallely, LM ; Wiseman, V ; Morgan, C ; Wand, H ; Rogerson, SJ ; Tabrizi, SN ; Whiley, DM ; Low, N ; Peeling, R ; Siba, P ; Riddell, M ; Laman, M ; Bolnga, J ; Robinson, LJ ; Morewaya, J ; Badman, SG ; Batura, N ; Kelly-Hanku, A ; Toliman, PJ ; Peter, W ; Babona, D ; Peach, E ; Garland, SM ; Kaldor, JM (F1000 Research Ltd, 2019)
    Background: Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis and bacterial vaginosis have been associated with preterm birth and low birth weight, and are highly prevalent among pregnant women in many low- and middle-income settings. There is conflicting evidence on the potential benefits of screening and treating these infections in pregnancy. Newly available diagnostic technologies make it possible, for the first time, to conduct definitive field trials to fill this knowledge gap. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate whether antenatal point-of-care testing and immediate treatment of these curable sexually transmitted and genital infections (STIs) leads to reduction in preterm birth and low birth weight. Methods: The Women and Newborn Trial of Antenatal Interventions and Management (WANTAIM) is a cluster-randomised crossover trial in Papua New Guinea to compare point-of-care STI testing and immediate treatment with standard antenatal care (which includes the WHO-endorsed STI 'syndromic' management strategy based on clinical features alone without laboratory confirmation). The unit of randomisation is a primary health care facility and its catchment communities. The primary outcome is a composite measure of two events: the proportion of women and their newborns in each trial arm, who experience either preterm birth (delivery <37 completed weeks of gestation as determined by ultrasound) and/or low birth weight (<2500 g measured within 72 hours of birth). The trial will also evaluate neonatal outcomes, as well as the cost-effectiveness, acceptability and health system requirements of this strategy, compared with standard care. Conclusions: WANTAIM is the first randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, acceptability and health system requirements of point-of-care STI testing and treatment to improve birth outcomes in high-burden settings. If the intervention is proven to have an impact, the trial will hasten access to these technologies and could improve maternal and neonatal health in high-burden settings worldwide. Registration: ISRCTN37134032.
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    Point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve birth outcomes in high-burden, low-income settings: Study protocol for a cluster randomized crossover trial (the WANTAIM Trial, Papua New Guinea)
    Vallely, A ; Pomat, W ; Homer, C ; Guy, R ; Luchters, S ; Mola, G ; Kariwiga, G ; Vallely, L ; Wiseman, V ; Morgan, C ; Wand, H ; Rogerson, S ; Tabrizi, S ; Whiley, D ; Low, N ; Peeling, R ; Siba, P ; Riddell, M ; Laman, M ; Bolnga, J ; Robinson, L ; Morewaya, J ; Badman, S ; Batura, N ; Kelly-Hanku, A ; Toliman, P ; Peter, W ; Babona, D ; Peach, E ; Garland, S ; Kaldor, J (F1000 Research Ltd, 2019-03-22)
    Background: Chlamydia trachomatis , Neisseria gonorrhoeae , Trichomonas vaginalis and bacterial vaginosis have been associated with preterm birth and low birth weight, and are highly prevalent among pregnant women in many low- and middle-income settings. There is conflicting evidence on the potential benefits of screening and treating these infections in pregnancy. Newly available diagnostic technologies make it possible, for the first time, to conduct definitive field trials to fill this knowledge gap. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate whether antenatal point-of-care testing and immediate treatment of these curable sexually transmitted and genital infections (STIs) leads to reduction in preterm birth and low birth weight. Methods : The Women and Newborn Trial of Antenatal Interventions and Management (WANTAIM) is a cluster-randomised crossover trial in Papua New Guinea to compare point-of-care STI testing and immediate treatment with standard antenatal care (which includes the WHO-endorsed STI ‘syndromic’ management strategy based on clinical features alone without laboratory confirmation). The unit of randomisation is a primary health care facility and its catchment communities. The primary outcome is a composite measure of two events: the proportion of women and their newborns in each trial arm, who experience either preterm birth (delivery <37 completed weeks of gestation as determined by ultrasound) and/or low birth weight (<2500 g measured within 72 hours of birth). The trial will also evaluate neonatal outcomes, as well as the cost-effectiveness, acceptability and health system requirements of this strategy, compared with standard care. Conclusions: WANTAIM is the first randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, acceptability and health system requirements of point-of-care STI testing and treatment to improve birth outcomes in high-burden settings. If the intervention is proven to have an impact, the trial will hasten access to these technologies and could improve maternal and neonatal health in high-burden settings worldwide. Registration: ISRCTN37134032 .