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Fetal death

Stillbirth is the clinical term for stillbirth used to describe the death of a baby in the womb. The term is generally applied to losses on or after the 20th week of gestation.

Pregnancies that are lost earlier are considered miscarriages and are treated differently by coroners. Parents of a stillborn baby, for example, will receive a birth and death certificate, while those of an aborted fetus will not.

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Causes:

In total, about one in four stillbirths will be unexplained. Of those with a diagnosed cause, the most common will include:

  • Congenital birth defects
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Placental abruption and other placental disorders (such as vasa previa)
  • Placental dysfunction leading to fetal growth restriction
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Uterine rupture

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