A stillbirth is when a fetus that was expected to survive dies during birth or during the last half of pregnancy.
Stillbirth is becoming less common as care for pregnancy improves. If you have a stillbirth, your health care provider may ask to carefully examine and test the fetus to determine the cause of stillbirth. This may help plan medical care for any future pregnancies. A full autopsy will be offered. You may decline this option if you wish.
Stillbirth can be caused by:
Infection, in the mother or the fetus
Medical conditions of the mother, such as diabetes, epilepsy, and high blood pressure
Placenta problems (
placental detachmentor poor placental function)
Sudden severe blood loss (hemorrhage) in the mother or fetus
Stopping of the heartbeat (cardiac arrest) in the mother or fetus
Umbilical cord problems
In about 15 – 35% of stillbirths, no explanation can be found.
Stillbirth is traumatic for the mother and her family. It can cause