There are 26,000 still births in this country every year.
That is one in every 160 pregnancies. But since the 1950's, still births have declined significantly, largely due to improvements in pre-natal care and in dealing with pre- existing health conditions of the mother.
"It's not so common that I think it needs to be addressed with every single patient starting a pregnancy," says Dr. Mary Jean Uy-Kroh of the Cleveland Clinic. "If there is a history, however, a strong family history or a strong personal family history, absolutely."
A study at the University of Utah has narrowed down the causes and the risk factors of stillbirth. The study involved 500 cases. Researchers stress more study is needed to identify pregnancies at the highest risk.
Obstetric complications, genetic abnormalities, infection and umbilical cord abnormalities are the main causes of stillbirth.
As far as the risk factors, African-American woman are at a higher risk than other women.
"They [also] found that people who were obese, sometimes older, also those with diabetes and co-existing medical problems and most importantly a history of stillbirths, all had an increased risk of stillbirth," Dr. Uy-Kroh adds.
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