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(Fetal Death; Intrauterine Fetal Death; IUFD)
- Chromosomal disorders
- Poor fetal growth
- Complications of pregnancy with more than one fetus
- High blood pressure or other conditions in the mother
- The mother has Rh-negative blood and fetus has Rh-positive blood—Rh incompatibility
- The umbilical cord descends into the vagina too early and cuts of oxygen to the fetus—umbilical cord prolapse
- A loop or knot in the umbilical cord
- The placenta separates from the uterus before the fetus is delivered—placental abruption
- The placenta becomes implanted near or over the cervix—placenta previa
- Chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, kidney disease, heart disease, blood clotting disorder, or asthma
- Smoking, drinking, or using drugs during pregnancy
- Multiple fetuses
- First pregnancy
- History of stillbirth or miscarriage in a previous pregnancy
- Poor prenatal care
- Trauma, such as a car accident
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Before Becoming Pregnant
- Women should have a preconception visit with their doctor. Conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure should be treated and controlled.
- If a woman is overweight, ar doctor can recommend a weight loss program. This can include a healthful diet and exercise.
- Taking folic acid before becoming pregnant can prevent certain birth defects, and may reduce the risk of having a miscarriage or another stillbirth. Ask your doctor how much folic acid you should take each day.
- If a couple has a genetic trait, they can work with a genetic counselor who can help determine the chance that their child may inherit that condition.
- Go to all prenatal care visits.
- If a woman has had a prior stillborn baby, the doctor may do additional testing during the current pregnancy. Tests will be done to track how the fetus is developing. Some doctors may recommend that women monitor kick counts closely during their pregnancy.
- Smoking, drinking, and using drugs should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Women should call their doctor right away if they notice decreased fetal movement or have vaginal bleeding.
American Pregnancy Association http://www.americanpregnancy.org
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Women’s Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Fetal death. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 25, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Kent DR, West J. Obstetrics and gynecology: a modern approach to the management of intrauterine fetal death. West J Med. 1977;126(4):298-299.
Ogunyemi D. Stillbirths. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Graduate-Medical-Education/Residency-Programs/Obstetrics-and-Gynecology/Didactic-Program/Documents/stillbirth-officepresentation-85767.pdf. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Stillbirth. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/healthinfo/stillbirth.html. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Stillbirth: trying to understand. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyloss/sbtryingtounderstand.html. Updated January 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG practice bulletin No. 102: Management of stillbirth. Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Mar;113(3):748-61. Reaffirmed 2012.
12/30/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network Writing Group. Association between stillbirth and risk factors known at pregnancy confirmation. JAMA. 2011;306(22):2469-2479.
12/30/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network Writing Group. Causes of death among stillbirths. JAMA. 2011;306(22):2459-2468.
8/26/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Gaskins AJ, Rich-Edwards JW, et al. Maternal prepregnancy folate intake and risk of spontaneous abortion and stillbirth. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;124(1):23-31.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014
- Update Date: 08/26/2014