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Study aims to set priorities for stillbirth research


Stillbirth, which in the UK refers to the death of a fetus after 24 weeks of pregnancy, is under-researched compared with other pregnancy outcomes. Also, while many pregnancy conditions result from a single cause, stillbirth could be the endpoint of different pregnancy complications such as fetal growth restriction, congenital anomalies, or infection.

Experts recently invited parents, families and clinicians to submit questions and research priorities related to stillbirth. More than 1600 responses were received to the questionnaires, and the top research questions incorporated understanding why babies die, preventing stillbirths, and improving care for mothers and babies.

"This study is the first to combine parents' and professionals' views to set research priorities for stillbirth," said Dr. Alexander Heazell, lead author of the Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology article. "This has confirmed some important areas of research such as evaluation of the importance of ultrasound in late pregnancy, but also broadened the focus, identifying a need for research into bereavement care and care in pregnancies after stillbirth."


Citation: Heazell, A. E. P., Whitworth, M. K., Whitcombe, J., Glover, S. W., Bevan, C., Brewin, J., Calderwood, C., Canter, A., Jessop, F., Johnson, G., Martin, I. and Metcalf, L. (2015), Research priorities for stillbirth: process overview and results from UK Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol, 46: 641-647. doi: 10.1002/uog.15738

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