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This article is the author's final published version in PLoS ONE, Volume 17, Issue 8, August 2022, Article number e0272712.

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BACKGROUND: Globally, socioeconomic status (SES) is an important health determinant across a range of health conditions and diseases. However, measuring SES within low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) can be particularly challenging given the variation and diversity of LMIC populations.

OBJECTIVE: The current study investigates whether maternal SES as assessed by the newly developed Global Network-SES Index is associated with pregnancy outcomes (stillbirths, perinatal mortality, and neonatal mortality) in six LMICs: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Zambia.

METHODS: The analysis included data from 87,923 women enrolled in the Maternal and Newborn Health Registry of the NICHD-funded Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research. Generalized estimating equations models were computed for each outcome by SES level (high, moderate, or low) and controlling for site, maternal age, parity, years of schooling, body mass index, and facility birth, including sampling cluster as a random effect.

RESULTS: Women with low SES had significantly higher risks for stillbirth (p < 0.001), perinatal mortality (p = 0.001), and neonatal mortality (p = 0.005) than women with high SES. In addition, those with moderate SES had significantly higher risks of stillbirth (p = 0.003) and perinatal mortality (p = 0.008) in comparison to those with high SES.

CONCLUSION: The SES categories were associated with pregnancy outcomes, supporting the validity of the index as a non-income-based measure of SES for use in studies of pregnancy outcomes in LMICs.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 License.