Washington DC: It is poor sanitation practices like open defecation, in pregnant women that leads to adverse pregnancy outcomes in India, particularly two rural areas of Odisha state, claims a new research.
Bijaya K Padhi from the Asian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar, and colleagues enrolled 670 women during the first trimester of their pregnancy, recorded information about toilet access and sanitation practices for each woman at enrollment, and followed them through pregnancy until birth.
They observed that nearly two-thirds of the women practiced open defecation, and a quarter experienced an adverse pregnancy outcome, most commonly a preterm birth and/or having a baby with low birth weight.
After adjustment for potential confounding factors they found that, compared with women who used a latrine, women who defecated in the open had a significantly greater risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes overall and preterm birth, but not low birth weight.
Pinaki Panigrahi, senior author of this paper at University of Nebraska said the study indicated that in the context of maternal and child health prevention research, sanitation was an important dimension of women's health and distinct from social class and caste.
The study is published in PLOS Medicine.