To study the impact of interpregnancy interval on maternal morbidity and mortality.
Retrospective cross sectional study with data from the Perinatal Information System database of the Latin American Centre for Perinatology and Human Development, Montevideo, Uruguay.
Latin America and the Caribbean, 1985-97.
456 889 parous women delivering singleton infants.
Main outcome measures
Crude and adjusted odds ratios of the effects of short and long interpregnancy intervals on maternal death, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, third trimester bleeding, premature rupture of membranes, postpartum haemorrhage, puerperal endometritis, and anaemia.
Short (<6 months) and long (>59 months) interpregnancy intervals were observed for 2.8% and 19.5% of women, respectively. After adjustment for major confounding factors, compared with those conceiving at 18 to 23 months after a previous birth, women with interpregnancy intervals of 5 months or less had higher risks for maternal death (odds ratio 2.54; 95% confidence interval 1.22 to 5.38), third trimester bleeding (1.73; 1.42 to 2.24), premature rupture of membranes (1.72; 1.53 to 1.93), puerperal endometritis (1.33; 1.22 to 1.45), and anaemia (1.30; 1.18 to 1.43). Compared with women with interpregnancy intervals of 18 to 23 months, women with interpregnancy intervals longer than 59 months had significantly increased risks of pre-eclampsia (1.83; 1.72 to 1.94) and eclampsia (1.80; 1.38 to 2.32).
Interpregnancy intervals less than 6 months and longer than 59 months are associated with an increased risk of adverse maternal outcomes.
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