Association of maternal history of neonatal death with subsequent neonatal death across 56 low- and middle-income countries

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Scientific Reports


Early identification of high-risk pregnancies can reduce global neonatal mortality rate. Using the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys from 56 low- and middle-income countries, we examined the proportion of mothers with history of neonatal deaths. Logistic regression models were used to assess the association between maternal history of neonatal death and subsequent neonatal mortality. The adjusted models controlled for socioeconomic, child, and pregnancy-related factors. Country-specific analyses were performed to assess heterogeneity in this association across countries. Among the 437,049 live births included in the study, 6910 resulted in neonatal deaths. In general, 22.4% (1549) occurred to mothers with previous history of neonatal death; at the country-level, this proportion ranged from 1.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.0, 2.6) in Dominican Republic to 38.1% (95% CI 26.0, 50.1) in Niger. Maternal history of neonatal death was significantly associated with subsequent neonatal death in both the pooled and the subgroup analyses. In the fully adjusted model, history of neonatal death was associated with 2.1 (95% CI 1.9, 2.4) times higher odds of subsequent neonatal mortality in the pooled analysis. We observed large variation in the associations across countries ranging from fully adjusted odds ratio (FAOR) of 0.4 (95% CI 0.0, 4.0) in Dominican Republic to 16.1 (95% CI 3.6, 42.0) in South Africa. Our study suggests that maternal history of neonatal death could be an effective early identifier of high-risk pregnancies in resource-poor countries. However, country-specific contexts must be considered in national policy discussions.



Publication Date



Open Access, Gold

This document is currently not available here.