Comparison of multivariable logistic regression and other machine learning algorithms for prognostic prediction studies in pregnancy care: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Herdiantri Sufriyana, Atina Husnayain, Ya Lin Chen, Chao Yang Kuo, Onkar Singh, Tso Yang Yeh, Yu Wei Wu, Emily Chia Yu Su

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Predictions in pregnancy care are complex because of interactions among multiple factors. Hence, pregnancy outcomes are not easily predicted by a single predictor using only one algorithm or modeling method. Objective: This study aims to review and compare the predictive performances between logistic regression (LR) and other machine learning algorithms for developing or validating a multivariable prognostic prediction model for pregnancy care to inform clinicians’ decision making. Methods: Research articles from MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were reviewed following several guidelines for a prognostic prediction study, including a risk of bias (ROB) assessment. We report the results based on the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Studies were primarily framed as PICOTS (population, index, comparator, outcomes, timing, and setting): Population: men or women in procreative management, pregnant women, and fetuses or newborns; Index: multivariable prognostic prediction models using non-LR algorithms for risk classification to inform clinicians’ decision making; Comparator: the models applying an LR; Outcomes: pregnancy-related outcomes of procreation or pregnancy outcomes for pregnant women and fetuses or newborns; Timing: pre-, inter-, and peripregnancy periods (predictors), at the pregnancy, delivery, and either puerperal or neonatal period (outcome), and either short- or long-term prognoses (time interval); and Setting: primary care or hospital. The results were synthesized by reporting study characteristics and ROBs and by random effects modeling of the difference of the logit area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of each non-LR model compared with the LR model for the same pregnancy outcomes. We also reported between-study heterogeneity by using τ2 and I2. Results: Of the 2093 records, we included 142 studies for the systematic review and 62 studies for a meta-analysis. Most prediction models used LR (92/142, 64.8%) and artificial neural networks (20/142, 14.1%) among non-LR algorithms. Only 16.9% (24/142) of studies had a low ROB. A total of 2 non-LR algorithms from low ROB studies significantly outperformed LR. The first algorithm was a random forest for preterm delivery (logit AUROC 2.51, 95% CI 1.49-3.53; I2=86%; τ2=0.77) and pre-eclampsia (logit AUROC 1.2, 95% CI 0.72-1.67; I2=75%; τ2=0.09). The second algorithm was gradient boosting for cesarean section (logit AUROC 2.26, 95% CI 1.39-3.13; I2=75%; τ2=0.43) and gestational diabetes (logit AUROC 1.03, 95% CI 0.69-1.37; I2=83%; τ2=0.07). Conclusions: Prediction models with the best performances across studies were not necessarily those that used LR but also used random forest and gradient boosting that also performed well. We recommend a reanalysis of existing LR models for several pregnancy outcomes by comparing them with those algorithms that apply standard guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16503
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Clinical prediction rule
  • Machine learning
  • Meta-analysis
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Prognosis
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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