The loss or death of a baby before birth is called stillbirth usually after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Causes of stillbirth
Many stillbirths are unexplained. The most common causes of stillbirth are:
- Complications during pregnancy and labor. These complications are more common causes of stillbirths before week 24. They include preterm labor, pregnancy with twins or triplets, and the separation of the placenta from the womb Pregnancy and labor complications were
- Placental problems. Insufficient blood flow to the placenta is one example of a placental problem that causes stillbirth.
- Birth defects. In more than 1 of every 10 stillbirths, the fetus had a genetic or structural birth defect that probably or possibly caused the death.
- Infection. An infection in the fetus or in the placenta, or by a serious infection in the mother can lead to stillbirth.
- Problems with the umbilical cord. These were considered a possible cause of about 1 in 10 stillbirths. For example, the cord can get knotted or squeezed, cutting off oxygen to the developing fetus. This cause of stillbirth tends to occur more toward the end of pregnancy.
- High blood pressure disorders. High blood pressure in the mother also contribute to stillbirths. These types of stillbirths were more common in the end of the second trimester and the beginning of the third, compared with other parts of pregnancy.
- Medical complications in the mother. Problems with the mother’s health—such as diabetes can be a possible cause in stillbirth.
Other risk factors that may lead to stillbirths are:
- A previous stillbirth
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Being under age 15 or over age 35