Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spotting fetal growth problems early could cut UK stillbirths by 600 a year

Date:
January 25, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Growth restriction in an unborn child is the single largest risk factor for stillbirth, especially when it goes unrecognized before birth, finds a new study. Yet it is currently missed in most pregnancies.

Growth restriction in an unborn child is the single largest risk factor for stillbirth, especially when it goes unrecognized before birth, finds a new study. Yet it is currently missed in most pregnancies.

Related Articles


The authors say spotting it early could substantially reduce the risk, and this needs to become a cornerstone of safety and effectiveness in antenatal care.

Stillbirth rates in the United Kingdom are among the highest in developed countries. They have often been considered unexplained and unavoidable, and their rates have changed little over the last two decades.

Recently, doctors have found that many stillborn babies fail to reach their growth potential, prompting a renewed focus on what causes fetal growth restriction. So a team of researchers at the West Midlands Perinatal Institute in Birmingham set out to assess the main risk factors associated with stillbirth in a multiethnic population.

Using NHS records, they identified 92,218 normally formed singleton babies, including 389 stillbirths, from 24 weeks of gestation, delivered during 2009-11 (a stillbirth rate of 4.2 per 1,000 births). They then assessed several maternal and fetal risk factors for stillbirth and calculated the proportion of stillbirths that could be potentially avoided if these risks were removed.

These included mother's age, parity (the number of times she had given birth), body mass index, mental health history, pre-existing diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, smoking in pregnancy, alcohol consumption, and fetal growth problems.

First, third and subsequent pregnancies were associated with an increased risk of stillbirth compared with second pregnancies, but high maternal age carried no increased risk in this population which excluded congenital anomalies. Ethnicity (African, African-Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani) carried a higher risk, as did deprivation and unemployment of the mother or her partner.

Maternal obesity (BMI of 30 or more), smoking, pre-existing diabetes, a history of mental health problems, and fetal growth restriction were all associated with a significantly increased risk.

As potentially modifiable risk factors, maternal obesity, smoking in pregnancy and fetal growth restriction together accounted for 56% of all stillbirths.

However, the strongest risk factor was fetal growth restriction, which carried a fourfold higher risk of stillbirth compared with normal growth pregnancies. This increased to an eightfold risk if it was not detected during pregnancy, accounting for 32% of all stillbirths in the study.

Yet the authors point out that the presence of fetal growth restriction is currently missed in most pregnancies.

They estimate that 71 stillbirths in their study population could have been avoided through better antenatal recognition. Extrapolated to the UK population, this would represent 600 fewer stillbirths per year.

"Our study shows that while there are several risk factors for stillbirth that can be ascertained from the outset of pregnancy, the single largest factor is fetal growth restriction, which is currently not well predicted and not recognised antenatally in most pregnancies," say the authors. "Most normally formed singleton stillbirths are potentially avoidable … and preventive strategies need to focus on improving antenatal detection," they conclude.

In an accompanying editorial, two experts from the University of Auckland say this study adds "important new insights" about modifiable risk factors for stillbirth, but that efforts to improve detection of fetal growth restriction must be intensified.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Gardosi, V. Madurasinghe, M. Williams, A. Malik, A. Francis. Maternal and fetal risk factors for stillbirth: population based study. BMJ, 2013; 346 (jan24 3): f108 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f108

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Spotting fetal growth problems early could cut UK stillbirths by 600 a year." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130125104226.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, January 25). Spotting fetal growth problems early could cut UK stillbirths by 600 a year. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130125104226.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Spotting fetal growth problems early could cut UK stillbirths by 600 a year." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130125104226.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) Microsoft accidentally revealed its upcoming fitness band on Wednesday, so the company went ahead and announced it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bracing to Meet a Killer: Aid Workers Prep for Ebola in Geneva

Bracing to Meet a Killer: Aid Workers Prep for Ebola in Geneva

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) At the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, around 30 doctors, nurses, lab technicians and water and sanitation workers are gathered for a crash-course in how to safely deal Ebola. Duration: 01:31 Video provided by AFP
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