What causes stillbirth?
There are many possibilities, but not always definitive answers to why a baby dies in the womb. In about 5% of cases, there is simply no answer. Charlotte was one of the 5%. It can be difficult to be left with no reason for your loss.
- Problems with the placenta (placental insufficiency or abruption) are thought to be the most common, in which constricted blood vessels cause a drop in nutrients and oxygen to the baby.
- Some stillbirths are attributed to genetic or chromosomal defects that inhibit vital organs from functioning.
- Health concerns for the mother may also contribute. Chronic medical conditions like lupus, hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, thrombophilia (a blood clotting disorder), and thyroid disease have been connected to some stillbirths. Infections, including fifth disease, cytomegalovirus, listeriosis, and syphilis, are known causes as well.
- Obesity, alcohol and drug use, and smoking in pregnancy involve lifestyle choices that increase the mother's risk of experiencing a stillbirth.
- Other factors: Statistically, as women grow older, their risk of stillbirth increases and African American women are almost twice as likely to have a stillbirth than other American women.