Women whose first pregnancy ended in infant death are significantly more likely to have a subsequent stillbirth finds new research published today (21 September) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Black women experienced the highest rates of stillbirth in subsequent pregnancy, the study by US researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Rochester found.
Infant mortality accounts for an estimated 5.75 million deaths annually worldwide and it is estimated there are 3.2 to 3.3 million stillbirths annually worldwide.
This new study looked at 320,350 women who had two singleton pregnancies between 1989 and 2005. Of these, 2,483 women (0.78%) had experienced infant death in the first pregnancy, while the remaining 317,867 women had an infant in their first pregnancy who survived the first year of life.
Within the study population, 1,347 cases of stillbirth occurred during the second pregnancy, representing a stillbirth rate of 4.2 per 1,000.
Mothers with previous infant death (defined as death of a child within the first year of life) were compared to those whose infant survived their first year.
Adjusted hazard ratios (AHR) were generated to assess the association between infant mortality in the first pregnancy and stillbirth in the second pregnancy.
The study found that overall women with prior infant death were three times as likely to experience stillbirth in their subsequent pregnancy (AHR=2.91).
White women with previous infant death were nearly twice as likely to experience subsequent stillbirth, compared to white women with prior infant survival (AHR=1.96). Black women with previous infant death were more than four times as likely to experience subsequent stillbirth, compared to their black counterparts (AHR=4.28).
The risk of stillbirth among women with and without a history of infant death, neonatal death, and p
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