Stillbirth occurs when a baby is lost after 24 weeks of pregnancy; the baby may die inside the womb (known as an intra-uterine stillbirth) or during labour (known as an intra-partum stillbirth). Stillbirth is rare, affecting only 5 in every 1,000 births.

What causes stillbirth?

In most cases, the exact cause of the stillbirth is unknown but there are several factors which could contribute to stillbirth; these include:

  • Pre-eclampsia: this condition is caused by issues relating to the placenta; it causes the mother’s blood pressure to rise and may cause problems with the blood supply to the baby
  • Complications during childbirth; for example, if the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s neck
  • Infections or illnesses during pregnancy, including bacterial infections such as listeriosis and viral infections
  • A genetic defect in the foetus

Additional risk factors may include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a multiple birth
  • Having diabetes
  • Having hypertension (high blood pressure) or problems with blood clotting
  • Being younger than 20 or older than 40

Guide to Pregnancy


Backache during Pregnancy

Constipation during Pregnancy

Eating during pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy

Heartburn and Indigestion During Pregnancy


Morning sickness

Piles during Pregnancy

Stages of pregnancy




Support for parents that have lost a baby

Pregnancy Tests