Distribution of Pregnancy Complications by Gestational Age at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, Southwestern Uganda

Mayanja Ronald, Nkonwa Innocent, Chakura Andrew, Mubiru Musa, Masembe Sezalio, Musa Kayondo, Kanyesigye Hamson, Wasswa Ssalongo, Ngonzi Joseph


Background: During pregnancy; both the woman and her developing foetus face various health risks. Pregnancy complications can range from mild discomfort, to severe, sometimes life threatening illnesses. Our objective was to determine the pregnancy complications and the associated gestation ages at Mbarara regional referral hospital. Methods: It was a cross sectional study. The Primary outcome was any pregnancy complications. The sample size was 1016. Pearson Chi-square was used to determine association between categorical variables.  Odds ratio was used to determine statistical significance. Results: The complications included abortion 6.2%, preterm labour 6.0%, and preeclampsia, premature rupture labour, preterm premature rupture of membranes, urinary tract infections 2.4%, malaria, intrauterine feotal death 1.5%, antepartum haemorrhage 1.5% and anaemia. The complications started rising from 29 weeks to 36 weeks and started declining thereafter but rose again after 42 weeks. Majority of complications occurred between 29 and 36 weeks. At bivariate analysis the following were found to be significantly associated with complications in pregnancy, age 35 years and above (OR 2.247(1.376-3.670), 95% CI), being single was negatively associated with absence of pregnancy complications(OR 0.435(0.219-0.863,95% CI), a gestational age bracket of 29-36 was negatively associated with absence of pregnancy complications (OR 0.169(0.123-0.233,95% CI), Conclusion: Though pregnancy complications can occur at any gestational age, there are three peaks at which complications are most common, early pregnancy between 5-16 weeks, 29–36 weeks and after 44weeks of gestation. Pregnancy complication drastically dropped towards term i.e. from 37-42 weeks and an increasing trend thereafter. A maternal age of 35 years and above, being single and a gestational age bracket of 29-36 are associated with pregnancy complications. Recommendations: Pregnant women who are 35 years and above and those who are single need to be monitored as high risk pregnancies. Investigations should be carried out for all women between 29-36 weeks when they come for antenatal care to rule out the potential risks. Pregnancies beyond 42 weeks should be induced. First antenatal care attendance should be as early as five weeks and efforts should be made to encourage preconception care in our setting since complications of pregnancy are high in the first few weeks of gestation.

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