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Stillbirths in the US are 'unacceptably high,' federal study says

Stillbirths in the US are 'unacceptably high,' federal study says
Posted at 11:42 AM, Mar 24, 2023

Every year in the U.S., at least 20,000 families suffer a stillbirth, which is defined as the loss of a fetus at 20 weeks or more of gestation. 

At the request of Congress, a group of government, academic, nonprofit and clinical experts conducted an analysis of stillbirths.

They concluded that stillbirth rates are "unacceptably high."

The experts noted the disparities in stillbirths.

"Among non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and non-Hispanic Black women, stillbirth rates are more than twice the rate for non-Hispanic White women," the study says.

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Researchers said numerous factors play into the disparities, including access to care, the prevalence of preexisting conditions, and structural racism.

Stillbirths are difficult to predict, the researchers say. However, there are numerous factors that can increase a pregnant individual's risk of having a stillbirth. They include diabetes, hypertension, placental conditions, and substance abuse.

The researchers note that a stillbirth is a traumatic experience for new mothers and their families, noting that they are at higher risk of mental health issues, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. 

Medical experts believe more can be done to prevent and support those who have stillbirths. Going forward, they will focus their efforts on data collection and research, examining disparities in stillbirths, improving support for affected families and addressing risk factors.