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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 13, Issue 5, Pages 311-318
Original Article

Demographic, Clinical and Microbiological Characteristics of Maternity Patients: A Canadian Clinical Cohort Study

Wanda M Wenman,1,5 Ivanna V Tataryn,2 Michel R Joffres,1 Rachelle Pearson,1,2 Michael GA Grace,3,4 William L Albritton,1,5 Errol Prasad,5 and The Edmonton Perinatal Infections Group

1Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
3Department of Radiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
4Department of Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
5Provincial Laboratory of Public Health for Northern Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Received 4 June 2001; Revised 1 October 2001

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To determine the demographic, clinical and microbiological characteristics of a representative Canadian obstetrical population.

DESIGN: A one-year cohort study of all maternity patients who were followed to delivery, using detailed patient questionnaires containing more than 60 demographic and clinical variables, and three microbiological evaluations during gestation - first trimester, 26 to 30 weeks, and labour and delivery. Outcome measurements included birth weight and gestational age.

SETTING: Labour and delivery suites of all office obstetrical practices affiliated with a single hospital.

POPULATION STUDIED: A consecutive sample of pregnant women in the study practices during one year were eligible for enrolment; 2237 consecutive patients were approached for consent, 2047 enrolled and 1811 completed the study through delivery.

RESULTS: The average patient was white, married and 29 years of age. Slightly more than half of the patients had postsecondary education, but 10% fell below the national poverty line for income. Frequency of factors linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes included cigarette smoking (19%), alcohol ingestion (18%), previously having had a premature infant (7%), and maternal diabetes (2%). Overall prevalence of genital microbes variously implicated in prematurity was 37% for ureaplasma, 11% for group B streptococcus and 4% for Mycoplasma hominis. Prevalence of bacterial vaginosis was 14%. The median gestational age for the cohort was 39 weeks, with 7% of infants born less than 37 weeks' gestation. Mean birth weight was 3415 g.

CONCLUSIONS: The present clinical cohort represents demographic and medical characteristics of the Canadian obstetrical population. The birth outcomes are consistent with national data. This database provides valuable information about a general obstetrical population that is managed by a universal health care system.