A stillbirth happens when a fetus (unborn baby) dies while still inside the mother or dies during delivery (childbirth). It is said that the delivered baby is stillborn. Stillbirth is different from a miscarriage because a stillbirth happens after the baby has been living inside its mother 20 to 24 weeks (depending on the country). It is called a miscarriage if the baby lived inside the mother for less time.
Causes[change | change source]
The causes of many stillbirths are unknown, even when autopsies are done on her
- nicotine, alcohol, or drugs taken by the mother during pregnancy
- physical trauma
- radiation poisoning
- Rh disease
- umbilical cord problems
Occurrence[change | change source]
The number of stillbirths in the United States is about 1 in 115 births, which is about 26,000 a year, or one every 20 minutes. In developing countries, where medical care is not as advanced or good, the number of stillbirths is higher.
Legal definitions of stillbirth[change | change source]
United Kingdom[change | change source]
In the UK, any baby that leaves its mother's body after 24 weeks and does not show any signs of life is called a stillbirth. The parent(s) must register the baby and a Stillbirth Certificate is given to the parent(s). 
Australia[change | change source]
In Australia, any stillborn fetus that weighs more than 400 grams and lived in the mother for more than 20 weeks must be registered.
United States[change | change source]
The United States does not have a formal definition of stillborn babies.  All pregnancies are legally called either: live birth, fetal death, or induced termination of pregnancy (abortion). The law does not have a difference between a stillbirth and a miscarriage. However, it is recommended to register infants who weighed over 350 grams or who lived over 19 weeks inside the mother before dying.
Other pages[change | change source]
Other websites[change | change source]
- The Wisconsin Stillbirth Service Program (WiSSP), a branch of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Clinical Genetics Center. One of the foremost authorities on the causes of stillbirth and responsible for many stillbirth evaluation protocols, including the widespread use of the Kleihauer-Betke test in deciding whether Rh disease is to blame for a stillbirth.
- First-person story of one woman's journey through stillbirth
Footnotes and references[change | change source]
- Gordon, Adrienne (Dr). "Department of Neonatal Medicine Protocol Book: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital". http://www.cs.nsw.gov.au/rpa/neonatal/html/newprot/stillbirths.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- Guide to registering stillbirths in the UK
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Definitions and Reporting Requirements (1997 Revision ed.). National Center for Health Statistics. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/itop97.pdf.
- Pregnancy Institute founded by Dr. Jason H. Collins, OB/GYN specializes in umbilical cord research
- March of Dimes: Quick reference and fact sheet
- Investigating perinatal death: a review of the options when autopsy consent is refused.
- Stillbirth at h2g2 - written by a bereaved mother