Current algorithms to evaluate gestational age (GA) during pregnancy rely on hospital coding at delivery and are not applicable to non-live births. We developed an algorithm using fertility procedures and fertility tests, without relying on delivery coding, to develop a novel GA algorithm in live-births and stillbirths.
Three pregnancy cohorts were identified from 16 health-plans in the Sentinel System: 1) hospital admissions for live-birth, 2) hospital admissions for stillbirth, and 3) medical chart-confirmed stillbirths. Fertility procedures and prenatal tests, recommended within specific GA windows were evaluated for inclusion in our GA algorithm. Our GA algorithm was developed against a validated delivery-based GA algorithm in live-births, implemented within a sample of chart-confirmed stillbirths, and compared to national estimates of GA at stillbirth.
Our algorithm, including fertility procedures and 11 prenatal tests, assigned a GA at delivery to 97.9% of live-births and 92.6% of stillbirths. For live-births (n = 4 701 207), it estimated GA within two weeks of a reference delivery-based GA algorithm in 82.5% of pregnancies, with a mean difference of 3.7 days. In chart-confirmed stillbirths (n = 49), it estimated GA within two weeks of the clinically recorded GA at delivery for 80% of pregnancies, with a mean difference of 11.1 days. Implementation of the algorithm in a cohort of stillbirths (n = 40 484) had an increased percentage of deliveries after 36 weeks compared to national estimates.
In a population of primarily commercially-insured pregnant women, fertility procedures and prenatal tests can estimate GA with sufficient sensitivity and accuracy for utility in pregnancy studies.