Researchers identify link between fetal growth and risk of stillbirth

April 22, 2014

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network have identified a link between stillbirth and either restricted or excessive fetal growth. Findings from the study are online in the April 22 issue of PLOS Medicine.

Using a new approach developed by the network to estimate in stillborn babies, Dr. Radek Bukowski, lead researcher and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB, and his colleagues evaluated 663 stillbirths and 1932 live births that occurred over a two-and-a-half year period at 59 hospitals in five U.S. regions.

They found that whose growth was below normal had a three- to four-fold increased risk of stillbirth. Fetuses whose growth was above normal also had a two- to three-fold increased risk of being stillborn.

Fetuses who were at the most extreme ends of growth—those that fell below the 5th percentile or were above the 95th percentile for weight—had the highest risk for stillbirth. The findings suggest that, contrary to current practices, obstetricians should place more emphasis on identifying fetuses that fall into those two categories when offering prevention strategies to pregnant women.

"When accounting for time of death, both low and high birth weights were associated with stillbirth in our study," said the study's authors in a joint statement.

"We hope that the findings of this study will initiate a process leading to a new approach to prevention of stillbirth," said Bukowski.

Explore further: Mothers with higher BMI have increased risk of stillbirth, infant death

More information: Bukowski R, Hansen NI, Willinger M, Reddy UM, Parker CB, et al. (2014) Fetal Growth and Risk of Stillbirth: A Population-Based Case–Control Study. PLoS Med 11(4): e1001633. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001633 . www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001633

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Should more kids have their tonsils out?

January 17, 2017

(HealthDay)—Because of stringent tonsillectomy guidelines, some kids who could benefit from tonsil removal surgery aren't getting it, two new reviews suggest.

Teens unlikely to be harmed by moderate digital screen use

January 13, 2017

Parents and pediatricians alike may worry about the effects of teens' screen time, but new findings from over 120,000 adolescents in the UK indicate that the relationship between screen time and well-being is weak at best, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.