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What causes a stillbirth?

Having a stillbirth can be very confusing and emotionally trying. In around 33 percent of cases, doctors do not know why it happened.

That said, they have noticed some trends in cases in which a cause of death can be determined. A few of the typical causes include:

  • Chromosomal disorders. These impact about 15 to 20 percent of children who are stillborn.
  • Malformations. These can stem from chromosomal abnormalities, environmental causes or genetic traits.
  • Preeclampsia. This is a type of very high blood pressure that happens during pregnancy.
  • Insufficient nutrients or oxygen.
  • Slow development and growth, falling well below the typical growth rate.
  • Bacterial infections. These often happen between weeks 24 and 27. In many cases, a diagnosis is not made until the condition is serious and potentially fatal.
  • Accidents involving the umbilical cord.
  • Maternal diabetes.
  • Pregnancy that goes longer than term. It's typically a high risk if the mother gets past 42 weeks, which is why many women are induced.
  • Accidents and injuries.

Do you believe that medical negligence led to the stillbirth? For instance, perhaps your pregnancy went longer than 40 weeks. You asked the doctor if you could be induced or utilize other methods to give birth, and the doctor told you just to keep waiting. Later, it turned out that the doctor looked at the wrong file and did not realize just how far along you were, leading to the child's death.

If this has happened to you, it is important to know what legal options you have and if you have a right to financial compensation.

    Source: American Pregnancy, "Stillbirth: Trying to Understand," accessed March 06, 2018

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