BACKGROUND: Two hundred seventy-five thousand maternal deaths, 2.7 million neonatal deaths, and 2.6 million stillbirths have been estimated in 2015 worldwide, almost all in low-income countries (LICs). Moreover, more than 20 million severe disabilities result from the complications of pregnancy, childbirth or its management each year. A significant decrease of mortality/morbidity rates could be achieved by providing effective perinatal and newborn care also in high-income countries (HICs), especially in peripheral hospitals and/or rural areas, where the number of childbirths per year is often under the minimal threshold recognized by the reference legislation. We report on a 2 years retrospective cohort study, conducted in a first level peripheral hospital in Cefalù, a small city in Sicily (Italy), to evaluate care provided and mortality/morbidity rates. The proposed goal is to improve the quality of care, and the services that peripheral centers can offer. METHODS: We collected data from maternity and neonatal records, over a 2-year period from January 2017 to December 2018. The informations analyzed were related to demographic features (age, ethnicity/origin area, residence, educational level, marital status), diagnosis at admission (attendance of birth training courses, parity, type of pregnancy, gestational age, fetal presentation), mode of delivery, obstetric complications, the weight of the newborns, their feeding and eventual transfer to II level hospitals, also through the Neonatal Emergency Transport Service, if the established criteria were present. RESULTS: Eight hundred sixteen women were included (age 18-48 years). 179 (22%) attended birth training courses. 763 (93%) were Italian, 53 foreign (7%). 175 (21%) came from outside the province of Palermo. Eight hundred ten were single pregnancies, 6 bigeminal; 783 were at term (96%), 33 preterm (4%, GA 30-41 WG); 434 vaginal deliveries (53%), 382 caesarean sections (47%). One maternal death and 28 (3%) obstetric complications occurred during the study period. The total number of children born to these women was 822, 3 of which stillbirths (3.6‰). 787 (96%) were born at term (>37WG), 35 preterm (4%), 31 of which late preterm. Twenty-one newborns (2.5%) were transferred to II level hospitals. Among them, 3 for moderate/severe prematurity, 18 for mild prematurity/other pathology. The outcome was favorable for all women (except 1 hysterectomy) and the newborns transferred, and no neonatal deaths occurred in the biennium under investigation. Of the remaining 798 newborns, 440 were breastfed at discharge (55%), 337 had a mixed feeding (breastfed/formula fed, 42%) and 21 were formula fed (3%). CONCLUSIONS: Although the minimal standard of adequate perinatal care in Italy is >500 childbirths/year, the aims of the Italian legislation concern the rationalization of birth centers as well as the structural, technological and organizational improvement of health facilities. Therefore, specific contexts and critical areas need to be identified and managed. Adequate resources and intervention strategies should be addressed not only to perinatal emergencies, but also to the management of mild prematurity/pathology, especially in vulnerable populations for social or orographic reasons. The increasing availability and spread of health care offers, even in HICs, cannot be separated from the goal of quality of care, which is an ethic and public health imperative.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||THE ITALIAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health