Placental pathology and maternal factors associated with stillbirth: An institutional based case-control study in Northern Tanzania

Godwin Lema, Alex Mremi, Patrick Amsi, Jeremia J. Pyuza, Julius P. Alloyce, Bariki Mchome, Pendo Mlay
Publication year: 


To determine the placental pathologies and maternal factors associated with stillbirth at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, a tertiary referral hospital in Northern Tanzania.


A 1:2 unmatched case-control study was carried out among deliveries over an 8-month period. Stillbirths were a case group and live births were the control group. Respective placentas of the newborns from both groups were histopathologically analyzed. Maternal information was collected via chart review. Mean and standard deviation were used to summarize the numerical variables while frequency and percentage were used to summarize categorical variables. Crude and adjusted logistic regressions were done to test the association between each variable and the risk of stillbirth.


A total of 2305 women delivered during the study period. Their mean age was 30 ± 5.9 years. Of all deliveries, 2207 (95.8%) were live births while 98 (4.2%) were stillbirths. Of these, 96 stillbirths (cases) and 192 live births (controls) were enrolled. The average gestational age for the enrolled cases was 33.8 ±3.2 weeks while that of the controls was 36.3±3.6 weeks, (p-value 0.244). Of all stillbirths, nearly two thirds 61(63.5%) were males while the females were 35(36.5%). Of the stillbirth, 41were fresh stillbirths while 55 were macerated. The risk of stillbirth was significantly associated with lower maternal education [aOR (95% CI): 5.22(2.01–13.58)], history of stillbirth [aOR (95%CI): 3.17(1.20–8.36)], lower number of antenatal visits [aOR (95%CI): 6.68(2.71–16.48), pre/eclampsia [aOR (95%CI): 4.06(2.03–8.13)], and ante partum haemorrhage [OR (95%CI): 2.39(1.04–5.53)]. Placental pathology associated with stillbirth included utero-placental vascular pathology and acute chorioamnionitis.


Educating the mothers on the importance of regular antenatal clinic attendance, monitoring and managing maternal conditions during antenatal periods should be emphasized. Placentas from stillbirths should be histo-pathologically evaluated to better understand the possible aetiology of stillbirths.