Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stillbirth study

The number of stillborn children in the United States declined steadily between 1990 and 2003, a government study found, but teenagers, black women, unmarried mothers, and those carrying three or more fetuses have an elevated risk.

There are about 1 million fetal deaths each year in the United States, most happening when there is no chance of survival, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Stillbirths are deaths that occur after 20 weeks of the standard 40-week gestation period.

There were slightly more than six stillbirths for every 1,000 pregnancies past 20 weeks in 2003, a drop of about 1.4 percent each year since 1990, the CDC study found.

Little is known about the causes of fetal death. Several factors may increase the risk, including smoking during pregnancy, obesity, uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, infections and problems with the placenta, the researchers said.

Black women experienced 11.56 stillbirths for every 1,000 pregnancies, more than twice the 4.94 rate for white women. The rate was 6.09 for American Indians and 5.46 for Hispanics.

The biggest risk was for women carrying triplets or more, with a 22.31 rate. Teenagers under age 15 had 13.18 stillbirths for every 1,000 pregnancies, while women 45 and older had 14.83.

Overall, 47 percent of fetal deaths occurred in unmarried women, and the higher risk remained regardless of age.

And the actual CDC report.

Again, the government can tell us who it happens to...they just can't tell us WHY it happens to anyone. I suppose we're supposed to draw our own conclusions? And this study certainly seems ripe for us to draw those conclusions, doesn't it? How about we stop pointing fingers and figure out the causes of ALL women won't have to worry about it? I bet I can't get money to study that.

Personal favorite is that this study references this site...which hasn't been updated since 2004. Three YEARS, people!


Aurelia said...

I'm glad you posted this today. And yes, it would be good if they started asking why, wouldn't it? *Sigh*

Jill said...

Well now, it seems they HAVE said why. It's because unmarried women are morrally bankrupt. Never mind that 53% of stillbirths occurred in married women. Possibly it sheds some light on why this reasearch hasn't been done before now?

Actually, (seriously now) I think that statistic if analysed might show that stillbirth is very much associated with socio-ecomomic position. Not to say that all unmarried women are disadvantaged, but when you think that a number of the married women would be, plus the ramifcations of ethnicity's effect on medical care, you would probably be on the path to reducing the overall incidence of stillbirth.

That doesn't help all the mystery cases where women were able to communicate adequately and attended appointments regularly. To me, there are two different sets of research to be done.

One million babies a year is a disgrace when so many perfect babies are dying.

Jill said...

OK, I'm back. Just for kicks I thought I would compare the rate of stillbirth in the US, Australia and the UK.

You are nearly twice as likely to suffer a stillbirth in the US than the other two countries. 1 in 115 vs 1 in 200 in the UK and Oz.

I truly believe that it is down to the national health systems in the latter two countries that remove some of the disadvantages that being financially disadvantaged would cause.

I *know* that doesn't address your situation directly but I believe that unless governments decide to eliminate stillbirths that are caused by poverty, how can we get to a point where new diagnostic techniques and protocols are invented? And even if the technology and knowledge did exist to solve the more complex cases, the fact that babies die from nothing more than neglect would be even more tragic.

I hope you don't mind the discussion Catherine - please know that Alex and Travis (and everyone's babies who come here) are in the front of my mind when having this particular debate:)

Sarah said...

Those stats are interesting... especially as compared to Australia and the UK...

I started looking up maternal mortality rates. Because I'm crazy. And the rate in the US may be increasing from the early 80's to the late 90's. By 1999 the rate was 13.2 for every 100,000 live births. (And yes ... i noted the live birth requirement of this statistic... and it made me mad)

And of course the rates are higher for black women and for unmarried women, as compared to white women or married women. About three times as many black women die due to pregnancy related complications as do white women. On for black women the mortality rate increases if they are married. I thought that statistic was interesting since it shows that being unmarried doesn't increase black women's risks. It shows that race is a much stronger factor than marriage. And it doesn't allow government a$$holes to say that the higher rate of maternal mortality in black women is due to higher rates of unmarried pregnancies.

Ok... sorry for the rant. It just sort of all relates in my mind. We need to do more to protect women and babies. And I agree with Jill... if we could remove the economic and racial differences in care, then maybe we could focus on taking additional steps to reduce pregnancy related death rates for everyone.

:) n said...

i haven't mentioned this prior but UTMB is performing a stillbirth study. the current hospital where i work and the one previously are actively involved in the study.

let me know if you would like the results once the study is completed.