Stillbirth – causes, prevention and management

Stillbirth – causes, prevention and management

A stillbirth seminar was organised today (Thursday 22 November) by the Northern Ireland Maternal and Child Health centre (NIMACH), part of the Public Health Agency (PHA),  to bring together leading national and international experts to address clinical issues surrounding stillbirth.

Stillbirth is when a pregnancy has carried to 24 weeks or more, but sadly the baby dies before it is born. Reasons for a stillbirth are complex and not always understood.

Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Heath, PHA said: “There are many factors associated with stillbirth such as increasing maternal age, obesity, ethnicity, congenital anomalies and placental conditions. A significant number are, however unexplained and more research is therefore needed to raise awareness of the possible reasons to help reduce the number of cases.

“The stillbirth rate in Northern Ireland in 2011 was less than 4 per 1,000 total births, but we would like to see the reduction continue.

“The purpose of this educational seminar was to consider the causes, prevention and management of stillbirths. The day provided an opportunity to hear from experts nationally and internationally who have been involved in programmes that have successfully reduced stillbirth rates.”

The seminar attracted medical professionals involved in maternity issues including consultants and trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology; clinical managers; midwives; public health professionals; paediatric pathologists and specialist trainees.

Dr Harper continued: “Stillbirth can have a profound effect on parents, their families, relatives and friends.

“This event has provided an opportunity for a wide range of professionals involved in maternity services to gain a greater understanding of the issues surrounding stillbirth and its prevention, as well as an insight into the devastating impact of stillbirth for parents.”

Further information

Contact PHA Communications on (028) 9055 3663.