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Health & Pregnancy

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Understanding Stillbirth -- the Basics

What Is Stillbirth?

Stillbirth is the delivery, after the 20th week of pregnancy, of a baby who has died. Loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy is called a miscarriage.

A baby is stillborn in about 1 in 200 pregnancies. Because many stillbirths happen in what appear to be normal pregnancies, they can be devastating to the parents.

Most women who have a stillbirth will be able to have a healthy baby in their next pregnancy. If the stillbirth was caused by certain chromosomal problems or an umbilical cord problem, the chances of it happening again are small. If the cause was a chronic illness in the mom or a genetic disorder in the parents, the risk is higher. On average, the chance of a successful future pregnancy is more than 90%.

What Causes Stillbirth?

In about half of all cases, the cause of stillbirth is unknown. The causes of a stillbirth that are understood include:

Am I at Risk for Stillbirth

You may have a higher risk for stillbirth if you have any of these risk factors:

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on March 11, 2015

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