PURPOSE: to determine the factors associated with cesarean section in pregnancies with fetal death at a maternity hospital in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. METHODS: a cross-sectional study was performed, which analyzed data from the information system about mortality and medical records, from January 2005 to December 2008, of Hospital Barão de Lucena (HBL). We analyzed women with fetal death diagnosis, with gestational age of 20 weeks or more, in terms of sociodemographic characteristics, causes and types of fetal death, obstetrical precedents and birth characteristics. The associations between the variables were analyzed by the χ2 test of association and Fisher exact test, with the level of significance set at 5%. We calculated the prevalence ratio as the measure of risk and the confidence interval (CI) at 95%. Logistic regression analysis was also performed and the Odds Ratio (OR) was calculated. RESULTS: among the 258 pregnant women with fetal death, 27.5% (n=71) underwent cesarean section. After multivariate analysis, the factors that remained significantly associated with cesarean section were maternal age below 20 years (OR=0.23; 95%CI=0.06-0.85), history of one or more cesarean sections (OR=7.02; 95%CI=2.29-21.55), multiple gestation (OR=9.06; 95%CI=2.01-40.71), use of misoprostol for birth induction (OR=0.07; 95%CI=0.01-0.32), fetal death occurring during birth (OR=4.01; 95%CI=1.13-14.24), low birth weight (OR=0.33; 95%CI=0.11-0.94), presence of hypertensive disorders (OR=3.7; 95%CI=1.46-9.39) and abruptio placentae (OR=13.9; 95%CI=4.67-41.69). CONCLUSION: in HBL, the risk factors for cesarean section in pregnancies with fetal death were previous cesarean section, multiple gestation, intrapartum deaths, hypertensive disorders and abruptio placentae. The protective factors were teenage pregnancy, use of misoprostol and low birth weight.
Fetal death; Stillbirth; Risk factors; Cesarean section