Injections during labor and intrapartum-related hypoxic injury and mortality in rural southern Nepal

Luke C. Mullany, Subarna K. Khatry, Joanne Katz, Cynthia K. Stanton, Anne C.C. Lee, Gary L. Darmstadt, Steven C. Leclerq, James M. Tielsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective To estimate the association between unmonitored use of injections during labor and intrapartum-related neonatal mortality and morbidity among home births. Methods Recently delivered women in Sarlahi, Nepal, reported whether they had received injections during labor. Data on breathing and crying status at birth, time to first breath, respiratory rate, sucking ability, and lethargy were gathered. Neonatal respiratory depression (NRD) and encephalopathy (NE) were compared by injection receipt status using multivariate regression models. Results Injections during labor were frequently reported (7108 of 22 352 [31.8%]) and were predominantly given by unqualified village "doctors." Multivariate analysis (excluding facility births and complicated deliveries) revealed associations with intrapartum-related NRD (relative risk [RR] 2.52; 95% CI, 2.29-2.78) and NE (RR 3.48; 95% CI, 2.46-4.93). The risks of neonatal death associated with intrapartum-related NRD (RR 3.78; 95% CI, 2.53-5.66) or NE (RR 4.47; 95% CI, 2.78-7.19) were also elevated. Conclusion Injection during labor was widespread at the community level. This practice was associated with poor outcomes and possibly related to the inappropriate use of uterotonics by unqualified providers. Interventions are required to increase the safety of childbirth in the community and in peripheral health facilities. Parent trial registered at (NCT00 109616).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-26
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Home births
  • Injections
  • Neonatal encephalopathy
  • Neonatal mortality
  • Nepal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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