Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smallest and largest fetuses at greater risk of being stillborn, research finds

Date:
June 25, 2012
Source:
St. Michael's Hospital
Summary:
The tiniest and the heaviest fetuses are at much higher risk of being stillborn than those of average weight, new research has found.

The tiniest and the heaviest fetuses are at much higher risk of being stillborn than those of average weight, new research has found.

Related Articles


Fetuses who are "severely small for gestational age," or weigh below the bottom one percentile of all fetuses, disproportionately account for about six per cent of all stillbirths, according to researchers at St. Michael's Hospital.

Fetuses that are "severely large for gestational age," or weigh above the 99th percentile, account for nearly one per cent of stillbirths. "In this study of all registered liveborn and stillborn infants in Ontario, extreme underweight and overweight states confer the highest risk of stillbirth," said Drs. Joel Ray and Marcelo Urquia, authors of the paper that appears in the current issue of the Journal of Perinatology.

Stillbirth is traditionally defined as the death of a fetus at more than 23 weeks of gestation weighing 500 grams or more. However, Drs. Ray and Urquia included babies born starting as early as 20 weeks of gestation on the grounds that maternal-fetal bonding is well established at that point, since most mothers-to-be have undergone a Level 2 ultrasound detailing the unborn baby's developing bones and organs.

Including those babies provides new information about the degree to which low and high weights are associated with stillbirths, including those before the point of viability, Dr. Ray said. That, in turn, may help doctors better decide at which time point it is better to allow a pregnancy to continue so the fetus can grow, or to deliver a premature baby who might otherwise die in the womb.

The rate of stillbirths in industrialized countries is about six per 1,000, of which half occur after 27 weeks of gestation. In poorer countries, the rate is up to five times higher. Stillbirths are more common than the death of a baby after birth, such as from prematurity or as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Yet, stillbirths have largely been ignored by our society, especially in terms of their emotional effect on the mother, her partner and extended family, Dr. Ray said.

The researchers examined records of all 767,016 live births and all 4,697 stillbirths in Ontario between 2002 and 2007. They said that because they looked at so many births, they could also make statistically precise estimations of the impact of extremely low birthweight on the risk of stillbirth.

They found that 19 per cent of stillbirths occur in fetuses under the tenth percentile of weight. But being below the first percentile of weight meant the fetus faced a 9.5 times higher risk of being stillborn than babies who are within the average weight range, between the 40th to 60th weight percentiles.

Dr. Ray said that when fetuses are severely small for gestational age, it usually means there is a problem with the placenta. Fetuses who are severely large for gestational age generally so because of the mom having diabetes or obesity.

The authors conclude that since more than 95 per cent of women in the industrialized world receive a Level 2 anatomical ultrasound before 22 weeks gestation, fetal weight should be estimated and reported at this time of the ultrasound, as a standard practice. In doing so, the early presence of a small or large fetus may help guide ongoing ultrasound surveillance for growth and well-being.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Michael's Hospital. The original article was written by Leslie Shepherd. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J G Ray, M L Urquia. Risk of stillbirth at extremes of birth weight between 20 to 41 weeks gestation. Journal of Perinatology, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/jp.2012.60

Cite This Page:

St. Michael's Hospital. "Smallest and largest fetuses at greater risk of being stillborn, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625125809.htm>.
St. Michael's Hospital. (2012, June 25). Smallest and largest fetuses at greater risk of being stillborn, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625125809.htm
St. Michael's Hospital. "Smallest and largest fetuses at greater risk of being stillborn, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625125809.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins