Prevalence and Associated Risk Factors of Preterm and Post-term Births in Northern Ghana: A Retrospective Study in Savelugu Municipality

Author(s): Silas Adjei-Gyamfi*, Abigail Asirifi, Hirotsugu Aiga

Introduction: Preterm and post-term births are prominent leading causes of neonatal mortalities and significant contributors to long-term adverse health outcomes. Although preterm and post-term births are disproportionately rampant in most parts of Ghana, the magnitude and underlying predictors are not well comprehended which necessitates more evidence for appropriate interventions. This study assessed the prevalence and identified vital risk factors of preterm and post-term births in Northern Ghana.

Methods: This study is a retrospective cross-sectional design conducted on 356 postnatal mothers from February to March 2022 in Savelugu Municipality of Northern Region, Ghana. Anthropometric, clinical, obstetric, and sociodemographic data were collected from antenatal records using structured questionnaires. Multinomial logistic regression was used to identify independent factors of preterm and post-term births at 95% confidence interval.

Results: Prevalence of preterm and post-term births were 19.4% and 6.5% respectively. Anaemia in the first trimester of pregnancy (AOR: 2.205; 95%CI: 1.011−4.809), non-use of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) during pregnancy (AOR: 1.979; 95%CI: 0.999−3.920), maternal age less than 20 years (AOR: 12.95; 95%CI: 2.977−56.34), and mothers with junior high school education (AOR: 0.225; 95%CI: 0.065−0.797) were independently associated with preterm births. Predictors for post-term births were macrosomia deliveries (AOR: 8.128; 95%CI: 1.777−37.18) and mothers with senior high school education (AOR: 0.001; 95%CI: 0.0001−0.125).

Conclusion: Preterm births are very prevalent, while post-term births are becoming crucial in the municipality. These predictors (gestational anaemia, ITNs use, teenagers, maternal education, and macrosomic births) of preterm and post-term births are modifiable and preventable. Therefore, interventions should be targeted at intensified community education on nutrition and lifestyle modifications, in addition to vigorous promotion of girls’ child education through parental empowerment.

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