Understanding high rates of stillbirth and neonatal death in a disadvantaged, high-migrant district in France: A perinatal audit.


Introduction: The objective of this study is to investigate factors associated with risks of perinatal death in a disadvantaged, high-migrant French district with mortality rates above the national average.

Material and methods: The study design is a perinatal audit in 2014 in all 11 maternity units in the Seine-Saint-Denis district (25 037 births). The data come from medical chart abstraction, maternal interviews and peer assessor confidential review of deaths. A representative sample of live births in the same district, from the 2010 French Perinatal Survey, was used for comparisons (n = 429). The main outcome measures were stillbirth and neonatal death (0-27 days) at ≥22 weeks of gestation.

Results: The audit included 218 women and 227 deaths (156 stillbirths, 71 neonatal deaths); 75 women were interviewed. In addition to primiparity and multiple pregnancy, overweight and obesity increased mortality risks (50% of cases, adjusted odds ratios [aOR] 1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-2.8, and aOR 1.9 [95% CI 1.1-3.2], respectively) as did the presence of preexisting medical/obstetric conditions (28.6% of cases, aOR 3.2, 95% CI 2.0-5.3). Problems accessing or complying with care were noted in 25% of medical records and recounted in 50% of interviews. Assessors identified suboptimal factors in 73.2% of deaths and judged 33.9% to be possibly or probably preventable. Care not adapted to risk factors and poor healthcare coordination were frequent suboptimal factors. Possibly preventable deaths were higher (P < .05) for women with gestational diabetes or hypertension (44.6%) than women without (29.0%).

Conclusions: Preventive actions to improve healthcare referral and coordination, especially for overweight and obese women and women with medical and obstetrical risk factors, could reduce perinatal mortality in disadvantaged areas.