Ending preventable stillbirths

lancet 1-19 stillbirth (002)It is impossible to put in to words the unimaginable pain a family experiences when a stillbirth occurs. The loss and void it creates can never be filled. Even in today’s world, stillbirths happen far too often.

Stillbirth is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy (although in some parts of the world the gestational age varies).

Did you know…


  • At least 2.6 million babies are stillborn every year.
  • Almost 50% of stillbirths occur during labor – 1.3 million each year.
  • Every day, 7,300 women lose their babies due to stillbirth in the last 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Two-thirds of all stillbirths occur in 10 countries.

In the U.S.:

  • Stillbirth affects about 23,600 babies each year.

What’s being done?

The Lancet, the prominent British Journal, has just launched a Series, “Ending Preventable Stillbirths” which spotlights the serious problem of stillbirth. They also offer much hope: one in four stillbirths could be prevented by increasing access to interventions. By knowing specific risk factors and providing women with targeted prenatal care, the rates of stillbirth can be decreased. The Series’ goal is 12 or fewer stillbirths per 1,000 births in every country by 2030.

The March of Dimes joins our many colleagues in support of The Lancet Series. Edward R.B. McCabe, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at the March of Dimes says “The targeting of modifiable risk factors in adolescence and before and during pregnancy identified in the Series—including maternal infections such as malaria and syphilis, non-communicable diseases, nutrition and lifestyle factors, advanced maternal age and prolonged pregnancy—have the potential not only to prevent stillbirth, but also to reduce death and disability from a range of other causes that share these same risks.”

To learn more about stillbirths, including risk factors, treatments, causes, tests after the birth, and whether you can have a healthy baby after having had a stillbirth, see our article.

The Lancet Series is the start of a much needed path to reducing preventable stillbirths. So many moms, dads, babies and families will be forever grateful.

Note: The March of Dimes receives many emails from women who have suffered a stillbirth. We offer bereavement materials to families in an effort to help them cope with their loss. If you or someone you know has suffered the loss of baby and would like our free bereavement materials, contact [email protected].

Your story matters to us.