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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2004 Aug;16(2):79-94.

Stillbirth: a review.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35233-1602, USA.


Stillbirth occurs in nearly 1% of all births in the USA, and is one of the most common but least studied adverse pregnancy outcomes. The many risk factors for and causes of stillbirth are presented. Over the past several decades, the rate of stillbirth has been substantially reduced, with the reduction most apparent in those stillbirths previously occurring at term and/or in labor. Reductions have occurred because of reductions in risk factors (i.e. prevention of Rh disease and better control of diabetes), better antepartum monitoring of those with risk factors followed by early delivery for those fetuses found to be at risk (i.e. growth restriction, maternal pre-eclampsia), better intrapartum fetal monitoring, increases in Cesarean section for those at risk, and early detection of congenital anomalies followed by termination prior to the time that these early fetal deaths are classified as stillbirths. Finally, the value of using fetal autopsy and placental examination to determine the cause of death accurately, both for research purposes and for patient counseling in future pregnancies, is explored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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