Mortality by Time since Pregnancy in Rural Bangladesh

Lisa S. Hurt, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Carine Ronsmans, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Pregnancy and postpartum are often represented as vulnerable periods in a woman's life. It is thought that the adverse effects associated with pregnancy extend up to six weeks postpartum, although longer term effects have also been suggested, particularly after numerous closely-spaced pregnancies. Epidemiological evidence in support of these effects is weak. The objective of this work is to improve our understanding of the relationship between pregnancy and mortality in the months and years after birth, by comparing mortality rates during pregnancy with mortality rates by time since pregnancy and in never-pregnant women in a rural population in Bangladesh. Mortality is lowest during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy and, as expected, is highest around the time of delivery. Mortality decreases markedly over the first six weeks postpartum and remains low in the long-term. This study provides little evidence for medium or long-term adverse effects of pregnancy in this population.

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Presented in Session 125: Maternal Health and Mortality II