Majority of stillbirth cases remain unexplained, suggesting postmortem investigation needs to be refined

Read the articles:
  • Stillbirth and intrauterine death: factors affecting determination of cause of death at autopsy
  • Organ weights and ratios for postmortem identification of fetal growth restriction: utility and confounding factors
  • Effects of intrauterine retention and postmortem interval on body weight following intrauterine death: implications for assessment of fetal growth restriction at autopsy
  • Stillbirth and intrauterine fetal death: role of routine histopathological placental findings to determine cause of death
  • Stillbirth and intrauterine fetal death: role of routine histological organ sampling to determine cause of death
  • Stillbirth and intrauterine fetal death: contemporary demographic features of >1000 cases from an urban population

Read the press release

Comment from author, Prof. Neil Sebire
London, UK
'Overall, post mortem examination remains the most effective way of determining how a person has died. However, this research highlights that, in the case of stillbirths, analysing information such as the clinical circumstances and examination of the placenta, without the use of invasive techniques, allows us to get almost as much information. The problem is that using current methods, even including full autopsy, we are still often not able to find out why the baby has died. It’s therefore vitally important that we advance better ways of properly investigating these cases by developing new, more refined techniques. This will ensure we can support families in the best possible way.'

Comment from UOG Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Basky Thilaganathan
London, UK

'Sebire and colleagues produce convincing data to demonstrate that fetal body weight decreases substantially between intrauterine demise and postnatal weight assessment. This suggests that the majority of stillbirths considered to be small for gestation by birth weight, were likely to have been appropriately sized at the time of death. This finding questions the fundamental rationale and potential effectiveness of current health policy that is solely focused on the detection and elective birth of small fetuses to reduce the risk of stillbirth.'