The what's, where's and why's of miscarriage: evidence from the 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey

J. Sumankuuro, M. K. Domapielle, E. K. Derbile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Miscarriage remains a significant public health challenge in most low- and middle-income settings, including Ghana. We thus examined the sociodemographic and maternal characteristics associated with miscarriage in Ghana using the 2017 Maternal Health Survey dataset. Study design: This was a cross-sectional quantitative study. Methods: We quantitatively analysed Ghana Maternal and Health Survey dataset. Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) collected the data using survey techniques. Approximately 25,062 women within the active reproductive ages of 15–49 years were involved in the survey. We analysed the data using binary and multivariate logistic regression models at a 95% confidence level. The findings were reported using the World Health Organisation's Conceptual Social Determinants of Health framework. Results: We found that the prevalence of miscarriage was 15.6%. Education, religion and ethnicity were the most significant structural factors associated with miscarriage. We also found that women of all ages (20–49 years), starting antenatal care (ANC) in the fifth month of gestation, residing in rural area, having history of abortion (aOR = 0.622, 95% CI = 0.570–0.679, P < 0.001), and not using mobile phone during complications (adjusted odds ratio = 0.601, 95% confidence interval = 0.556–0.651, P < 0.001) were key intermediary determinants of miscarriage. The analysis found increased odds of miscarriage among women who had no mobile phone and could not access the same during obstetric complications. Conclusions: The study concludes that country-policy frameworks on maternal and neonatal health care do not go far enough in providing specific solutions for preventing miscarriage. To reverse this trend, we recommend targeted ANC, including enhanced twenty-four-hour primary emergency obstetric care within 5 km, advocacy, and education as a lever to increasing utilisation of ANC, and removal of indirect financial barriers to maternal health care. We further recommend a qualitative research to understand some of the findings and explore the feasibility of promoting mobile phone technology to address maternal health problems, particularly obstetric care for women in hard-to-reach rural communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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