The effect of stay in a maternity waiting home on perinatal mortality in rural Zimbabwe.J Trop Med Hyg. 1995 Aug; 98(4):261-7.JT
A hospital-based cohort study was carried out in a district hospital in Zimbabwe to evaluate the effect of a maternity waiting home on perinatal mortality. Information on antenatal risk factors, use of antenatal care, access to the hospital and stage of labour on arrival was collected for each woman delivering at the hospital during the period 1989-1991 (n = 6438). Women who stayed in the maternity waiting home had a lower risk of perinatal death compared to women who came directly from home to the hospital during labour. The crude relative risk of perinatal death for the women coming from home was 1.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-2.6; P < 0.05). After adjusting for the effect of potential confounding variables, the relative risk decreased to 1.5 (95% CI 0.95-2.5, P = 0.07). However, when the analysis was restricted to women with antenatal risk factors there was a significant 50% reduction in the risk of perinatal death for the women who stayed at the maternity waiting home compared to women who came from home during labour (adjusted relative risk 1.9; 95% CI 1.1-3.4; P < 0.05). The use of maternity waiting homes has the potential to reduce perinatal mortality in rural areas with low geographic access to hospitals and merits further evaluation.