stillbirth riskA study out of West Midlands Perinatal Institute on stillbirth risk factors was recently published in the journal BMJ. The cohort study investigated 389 stillbirths as part of a total pool of more than 92,000 live births between 2009 and 2011. All pregnancies included in the study were followed starting in the 24th week of gestation.

Ethnicity, body mass index, pre-existing conditions/diseases, lifestyle habits and other factors were taken into consideration for the study. Researchers estimated more than 56% of the stillbirths recorded were the result of fetal growth restriction, smoking and maternal obesity – as a combined total percentage of risk. Restricted growth of the fetus was the most prominent risk factor. In all, 195 stillbirths were attributed to fetal growth restriction. Eighty-two percent of the cases were not found antenatally. When fetal growth restriction were found in antenatal testing, birth took place 10 days earlier.

Conclusion: Detection of fetal growth restriction may decrease the risk of stillbirth.

Source: Gardosi J, Madurasinghe V, Williams M, Malik A, Francis A. Maternal and fetal risk factors for stillbirth: population based study. BMJ. 2013 Jan 24;346:f108. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f108.

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