Background: Stillbirths affect more than 2.5 million pregnancies worldwide every year and the progress in reducing stillbirth rates is slower than that required by World Health Organization. The aim of the present study was to investigate which factors were associated with stillbirths in a University Hospital in the North of Italy, over a time span of 30 years. The goal was to identify which factors are potentially modifiable to reduce stillbirth rate. Methods: Retrospective case-control study (358 stillbirths, 716 livebirths) subdivided into two study periods (1987–2006 and 2007–2017). Results: The prevalence of conception obtained by assisted reproductive technologies, pregnancy at advanced maternal age, and complications of pregnancy such as preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction (FGR), and other fetal diseases (abnormal fetal conditions including fetal anemia, fetal hydrops, TORCH infections) increased through the years of the study. Despite a rising prevalence, the last 10 years showed a significant reduction in stillbirths associated with preeclampsia and FGR. Similarly, the risk of stillbirth related to abnormal fetal conditions decreased in the second study period and a history of previous stillbirth becomes a nonsignificant risk factor. Conclusions: Altogether these results suggest that in pregnancies perceived as “high risk” (i.e. previous stillbirth, preeclampsia, FGR, abnormal fetal conditions) appropriate care and follow-up can indeed lower stillbirth rates. In conclusion, the road to stillbirth prevention passes inevitably through awareness and recognition of risk factors.
- Assisted reproduction
- fetal growth restriction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology