Worldwide the stillbirth burden has been largely overlooked. The subject of stillbirth was not addressed in the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, despite ranking fifth amongst the leading global causes of death in all age categories. The nationally reported stillbirth rate in the UK is 5.2/1000 (8th CESDI report), one of the highest stillbirth rates amongst high-income countries. Despite having a well-established healthcare system, this rate has unfortunately shown little improvement over the last 30 years.
There is some evidence to suggest that there is an ethnic variation in the rates of antepartum stillbirth in the UK. This study aims to assess how ethnicity affects stillbirth rates and which ethnicities may be deemed as high-risk.
For this study we used data which was collected over a one year period, representing all stillbirths that occurred from October 2011 to October 2012.
We found an over-representation of South Asian women amongst the stillbirth cohort, accounting for 43.9% of the recorded stillbirths compared to 18% of Caucasian women (OR 2.49). An incidence of 13.9/1000 vs. 5/1000. 57.9% of stillbirths in the South Asian population occurred at term or over and 31.9% post term.
Our data would suggest that there is a higher stillbirth rate amongst the South Asian population. Generalisations between different ethnic groups may therefore not be appropriate when deciding on the timing of delivery and it may be that women of different ethnicities may need delivery at different times. Our “one size fits all” policy may not be appropriate.
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