ICMR to begin research to identify and understand the local causes and risk factors on stillbirth

  • Posted on: 2 June 2015
  • By: Shalini.Sharma

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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will soon start research on stillbirth to identify and understand the local causes and risk factors from the medical and sociological perspective. ICMR's initiative on stillbirth is significant as nearly 3 million third-trimester stillbirths occurring worldwide each year and 98 per cent of these occur in low-income and middle-income countries.  More than 1 million stillbirths occur in the intrapartum period, which can largely be prevented. The cause of stillbirth remains unidentified in India.

This research programme include Improving counting and reporting of stillbirths in the health system at all levels;  Assigning accurate classification of the cause of stillbirth to enable comparisons across different levels of health care system and time periods, Effective implementation of simplified audit tools for stillbirths in facilities, Identification and validation of simplified surrogates for assessing gestational age of stillborn babies, Develop and/or implement quality-improvement programmes to reduce stillbirths; and Improving support to women and families with a stillbirth.

The causes of a stillbirth that are understood include: Birth defects, with or without a chromosomal abnormality. Problems with the umbilical cord. With a prolapsed umbilical cord, the cord comes out of the vagina before the baby, blocking the oxygen supply before the baby can breathe on its own. In affluent societies congenital anomalies, preterm birth, diabetes, and post-term pregnancy contribute to the burden of stillbirths.

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