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Risk factors of Stillbirth

Are you a clinician? If so, here is a page of published research data to help you identify risk factors for stillbirth. Through prenatal care, an expectant family's individual history should be considered and a conversation relating to potential risk factors is suggested.

 Pregnancy in Clinic


This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical professional. Still Aware provides this knowledge as a courtesy, not as a substitute for personalised medical advice and disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. Rather, the organisation encourages expectant families and clinicians to ask the questions. Quality antenatal care that is accessible to all, has the potential to reduce stillbirth rates in high-income countries. Multiple risk factors would warrant closer or more regular monitoring throughout pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester.


Characteristics of at-risk mothers may include: 

  • Primiparity (first-time mothers) i

  • Maternal age (less than 18 or 35years +) ii

  • Assisted reproduction (IVF) pregnancy ii

  • BMI (30 or above) ii

  • Maternal ethnic origin (South Asian descent, Australian indigenous & new immigrant group) ii

  • Previous Stillbirth ii

  • Previous Caesarean section ii

  • Diabetes (pre-existing & Gestational) ii

  • Smoking ii

  • Alcohol ii

  • Illicit drug use ii

  • Lack of folic acid ii

  • High blood pressure (Pre-existing and Pre-eclampsia) ii

  • Multiple Pregnancy ii

  • Infection ii

  • Low socioeconomic status ii

  • Poor antenatal attendance (less than 50% of planned visits attended) iii


Characteristics of an at-risk baby may include:

  • Decreased fetal movement (irregular from what’s normal baby) ii for the individual

  • Erratic increased fetal movement (crazy, insane or out-of-control movement from what is normal for the individual baby) iv

  • Fetal growth restriction (crossing centiles from the expected growth curve for that baby) ii

  • Low amniotic fluid v

  • Placental blood flow restriction vi

  • Gestational age 41 weeks or more ii

  • Male ii


Want to learn more about Stillbirth Research? You can start by checking out our Stillbirth Research in Australia Page. 


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