Abortion and Infant Mortality on the First Day of LifeAuger N.a, b · Bilodeau-Bertrand M.a, c · Sauve R.d, e
aInstitut national de santé publique du Québec, bUniversity of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, and cDepartment of Demography, University of Montreal, Montreal, Que., and Departments of dPediatrics and eCommunity Health Sciences, Cummings School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta., Canada
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Article / Publication Details
Background: Fetal imaging for congenital anomalies increases pregnancy terminations late in gestation. Objectives: We assessed whether late-pregnancy terminations can accidentally result in live births, and how these births impact infant mortality rates over time. Methods: We carried out a population-level analysis of 12,141 infant deaths in Quebec, Canada from 1986 to 2012. We calculated the proportion of infants born alive who died following pregnancy termination. The exposure was pregnancy termination with or without congenital anomaly recorded on death certificates. The main outcome was mortality on the first day of life by the hour. Results: Pregnancy termination was the cause of 19.4 infant deaths per 100,000 in 2000-2012, compared with 1.0 per 100,000 in 1986-1999. Most deaths after termination occurred in the first 3 h of life among infants with anomalies who weighed <500 g. In 2000-2012, infants who died following pregnancy termination led to an excess of 0.2 deaths per 1,000 on the first day of life, i.e. an 8.6% increase in the infant mortality rate (p value = 0.002). Conclusions: Pregnancy termination in mid-gestation carries the risk of accidental live birth. These neonates increasingly affect infant mortality rates. Better recording is needed, including data on the prevention and management of accidental live births after pregnancy termination.
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