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
- Complications of multiple gestation—being pregnant with more than one fetus
- High blood pressure or other conditions in the mother
- Rh incompatibility, which occurs when the mother has Rh-negative blood and fetus has Rh-positive blood
- Umbilical cord prolapse, which occurs when the umbilical cord descends into the vagina too early and cuts of oxygen to the fetus
- A loop or knot in the umbilical cord
- Placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta that nourishes the fetus separates from the uterus before the fetus is delivered
- Placenta previa, which occurs when the placenta becomes implanted near or over the cervix
In many cases, the cause is unknown.
Last reviewedSeptember 2013by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.