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Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Feb;107(2 Pt 1):391-7.

Is race a determinant of stillbirth recurrence?

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, UMDNJ-School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A history of stillbirth may result in an increased risk for recurrence, although information regarding this remains scanty. It is also uncertain whether race is a determinant of stillbirth recurrence given that the risk of stillbirth varies across racial and ethnic populations.

METHODS:

The Missouri maternally linked cohort data set containing births from 1978 through 1997 was used. We identified the study group (women who experienced a stillbirth in the first pregnancy) and a comparison group (women who delivered a live birth in their first pregnancy) and compared the outcome (stillbirth) in the second pregnancy between the 2 groups.

RESULTS:

We analyzed 404,180 women with information on first and second pregnancies (1,979 [0.5%] in the study arm, and 402,201 [99.5%] in the comparison arm). Of the 1,929 cases of stillbirths in the second pregnancy, 45 cases occurred in mothers with a history of stillbirth (stillbirth rate = 22.7/1000) and 1,884 in the comparison group (stillbirth rate 4.7/1,000, P < .001). The adjusted risk of stillbirth was almost 5-fold as high in women with a prior stillbirth (odds ratio 4.7, 95% confidence interval 3.3-6.6). Analysis across racial groups revealed that whites had lower absolute risk for stillbirth recurrence than African Americans (19.1/1,000 compared with 35.9/1,000, P < .05). The elevated stillbirth recurrence risk was confirmed after adjusting for potential confounders (odds ratio 2.6, 95% confidence interval 1.2-5.7).

CONCLUSION:

History of stillbirth is associated with a 5-fold increase for subsequent stillbirth. The recurrence of stillbirth is almost tripled in African Americans as compared with whites.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

II-2.

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