Document Type



Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health; Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Objective To assess stillbirth mortality by Robson ten-group classification and the usefulness of this approach for understanding trends.

Design Cross-sectional study.

Setting Prospectively collected perinatal e-registry data from 16 hospitals in Benin, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda.

Population All women aged 13–49 years who gave birth to a live or stillborn baby weighting >1000 g between July 2021 and December 2022.

Methods We compared stillbirth risk by Robson ten-group classification, and across countries, and calculated proportional contributions to mortality.

Main outcome measures Stillbirth mortality, defined as antepartum and intrapartum stillbirths.

Results We included 80 663 babies born to 78 085 women; 3107 were stillborn. Stillbirth mortality by country were: 7.3% (Benin), 1.9% (Malawi), 1.6% (Tanzania) and 4.9% (Uganda). The largest contributor to stillbirths was Robson group 10 (preterm birth, 28.2%) followed by Robson group 3 (multipara with cephalic term singleton in spontaneous labour, 25.0%). The risk of dying was highest in births complicated by malpresentations, such as nullipara breech (11.0%), multipara breech (16.7%) and transverse/oblique lie (17.9%).

Conclusions Our findings indicate that group 10 (preterm birth) and group 3 (multipara with cephalic term singleton in spontaneous labour) each contribute to a quarter of stillbirth mortality. High mortality risk was observed in births complicated by malpresentation, such as transverse lie or breech. The high mortality share of group 3 is unexpected, demanding case-by-case investigation. The high mortality rate observed for Robson groups 6–10 hints for a need to intensify actions to improve labour management, and the categorisation may support the regular review of labour progress.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License