What is it?

Stillbirth refers to fetal death in the womb after the 20th week of pregnancy. Early stillbirth refers to fetal death between the 20-27 weeks, late stillbirth refers to death between 28-36 weeks and term stillbirth refers to death after the 37th week. About one third of stillbirth cases happen due to unknown reasons. Risk factors include smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs during pregnancy, old women, poor prenatal care, malnutrition, multiple gestation, and obesity. Causes for stillbirth may include preeclampsia, lupus, clotting disorders, birth defects, infections, trauma and cholestasis of pregnancy.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms may include reduced fetal movements, pain, fever, chills or vaginal bleeding.


Diagnosis is based on ultrasound imaging of the pelvic area.


After a stillbirth, doctors recommend induction of labor. If the parents want to, they can ask to spend time with their child. Some women will have to take dopamine agonist pills to stop milk production. It is recommended to get emotional support.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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