A Systematic Approach to Stillbirth Examination in a tertiary Hospital

  • Arby Jane R. Igualada
  • Efren J. Domingo
  • Jose Maria C. Avila
Keywords: fetal death in utero, placenta, stillbirth evaluation


Background. Stillbirth has a complex pathophysiology, hence the difficulty in arriving at a specific cause.

Objectives. The study aimed to identify the probable causes of stillbirth in a tertiary hospital based on gross examination of the placenta and the fetus, as well as, to identify the demographic profile of the stillbirths.

Methods. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted among 29 stillbirths delivered in a tertiary hospital from March 2016 to September 2016. The probable causes of stillbirth were categorized as obstetrics complications, placental abnormalities, umbilical cord abnormalities, fetal malformations, infections, hypertensive disorders, medical complications, and undetermined causes.

Results. 86% of stillbirths in this study had a probable cause of death. Umbilical and placental abnormalities were the most probable causes (62% and 41%, respectively). The two most common identified cord abnormalities were short cord length (34%) and marginal insertion (23%), while small placenta (27%) was the most common for placental abnormalities.

Conclusion. To be able to come up with the probable cause of stillbirth, the delivering physician or health personnel should always account the gross findings of the fetus and placenta after delivery.