One of the most dreaded complications in obstetrics is a stillbirth that is defined as the absence of life upon delivery of the baby. There are approximately 3million stillbirths that occur each year globally and one-half million in the U.S. In developing countries, the most common reasons of stillbirths were prolonged labor, pre-eclampsia and infections whereas in the U.S., the most common causes are abnormal genes, abnormal growth (aka growth restriction) and maternal diseases. According to medical studies, unexplained fetal loss is the most common reason for stillbirths that occur after 28 weeks. Risk factors for stillbirth include women who have infections, abnormal chromosomes, genetic disorders and umbilical cord complications. Race and socioeconomics also play a role. Black women have twice the risk of having a stillbirth as Caucasian women. Smoking and advanced maternal age also poses an increased risk.
Until recently, there are no screening tests available to see if a woman was carrying a baby at risk for stillbirth. However, a medical study presented at a conference reported that stillbirths can now be predicted using Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*