Stillbirth refers to the death of fetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Stillbirths usually happen before a woman goes into labor.

Stillbirth may be caused by:

  • Chromosomal disorders
  • Poor fetal growth
  • Infection
  • 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

In many cases, the cause is unknown.