Background In the United Kingdom approximately 1 in 200 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Stillbirth rates are often higher in certain ethnic groups, however in most studies these women account for a small proportion of the population.
Methods 53,031 singleton births at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust between 2004 and 2012 were analysed to determine the prevalence of stillbirth in this population and the odds ratios for stillbirth in different ethnic groups. Population attributable fractions were used to quantify the contribution of certain ethnicities to the prevalence of stillbirth in this population.
Results There were 360 stillbirths during the study period. The prevalence of stillbirth was 6.8 stillbirths per 1000 total births which is higher than regional and national figures. Black and Asian women had twice the odds of stillbirth compared to White women even after adjusting for age, parity, deprivation, obesity, hypertension and diabetes (OR2.08 95% CI1.55–2.80 (Black) OR2.54 95% CI1.66–3.87 (Asian)). Having adjusted for all other factors up to 30% of stillbirths in this population could be avoided if Black and Asian women had the same odds of stillbirth as White women (PAF 23.5% (Black) PAF 7% (Asian)).
Conclusion There is insufficient research regarding the mechanism by which distal factors such as ethnicity act in determining a woman’s risk of stillbirth. Healthcare workers should be aware that these women’s increased risk of stillbirth extends beyond the contribution of obesity, hypertension or diabetes.
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