GALVESTON — Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network have identified a link between stillbirth and either restricted or excessive fetal growth. Findings from the study are online in the April 22 issue of PLOS Medicine.
Using a new approach developed by the network to estimate gestational age in stillborn babies, Dr. Radek Bukowski, lead researcher and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB, and his colleagues evaluated 663 stillbirths and 1932 live births that occurred over a two-and-a-half year period at 59 hospitals in five U.S. regions.
They found that fetuses whose growth was below normal had a three- to fourfold increased risk of stillbirth. Fetuses whose growth was above normal also had a two- to threefold increased risk of being stillborn. Fetuses who were at the most extreme ends of growth — those that fell below the 5th percentile or were above the 95th percentile for weight — had the highest risk for stillbirth.
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