J Glob Health. 2023 Sep 15;13:04116. doi: 10.7189/jogh.13.04116.
BACKGROUND: High-risk pregnancies (HRP) place women and their offspring at the highest risk for morbidity and mortality. Maternal and medical risks increase pregnancy risk and complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Here, we reported the current prevalence of high-risk pregnancies among Indian women, which is defined through various factors such as maternal, lifestyle, medical, current health risk and adverse birth outcomes.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study based on secondary data from India’s National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5). A total of 23 853 currently pregnant women were considered for analysis after considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The prevalence and contributing factors of high-risk pregnancies were estimated using descriptive statistics and logistic regression, respectively.
RESULTS: The prevalence of high-risk pregnancies among Indian women was 49.4%, with 33% of women having a single high-risk, and 16.4% having multiple high-risk pregnancies. Notably, pregnant women from Meghalaya and Manipur states had 67.8% and 66.7% with one or more high-risk factors, respectively. About 31.1% of women had short birth spacing, and 19.5% of women had adverse birth outcomes during the last birth. Logistic regression analysis showed that women with no education (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.02; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.84-2.22) and the poorest wealth quintile (AOR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.04-1.29) had significantly higher odds of having HRP than those with higher education and the highest wealth quintile, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Nearly half of all pregnancies in India have one or more high-risk factors, which is a matter of concern, and the risks were higher among the vulnerable population such as no educated, poorest groups etc. The leading high-risk factors such as short-birth spacing, adverse birth outcomes, and caesarean deliveries should be addressed through the health policy and programmes.