University Of Utah Logo.jpg Sometimes a pregnancy may result in still birth, which implies the death of the fetus. Experts from the The Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network (SCRN) and the University of Utah recently shed light on the probable reasons for still birth.

Some of the principal causes that came forward were obstetric issues, cervical insufficiency, placental abruption, unnaturalness in the placenta and preterm labor. Some other factors like abnormalities in the umbilical cord, fetus and other maternal conditions also came to light. Another finding was that black women were presumably more prone to this condition at an initial stage of pregnancy or at the time of delivery mostly due to obstetric problems or infection.

“Stillbirth is more common than people realize, affecting one out of every 160 pregnancies in the United States. Our research focuses on determining underlying causes of stillbirth, as well as factors that may contribute to the significant racial disparity in stillbirth rates,” commented Robert M. Silver, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and senior author on the study.

The study spanned across 59 hospitals in 5 states where almost 972 stillbirth incidences were observed. Out of this, nearly 512 cases were exposed to detailed postmortem examinations which took place from March 2006 to September 2008. These analyses were inclusive of autopsy, placenta assessment and chromosome trial. After many such laboratory tests, the mothers were interviewed too.

Following such an extensive analysis, the team could locate the possible reasons for mortality in approximately 76% of stillbirth instances. The trial essentially put forward some major risk variables such as black ethnicity, initial experiences of stillbirth, previous loss of pregnancy, no birth encounter, obesity, maternal age and marital status for still birth.

However, the team concluded that it is extremely challenging to foresee stillbirth based on risk factors at the beginning of a pregnancy. Such a study will eventually pave the path to developing remedial measures for stillbirth.

The study is published in JAMA.