Previous Preterm and Small-for-Gestational-Age Births and the Subsequent Risk of Stillbirth

Pamela J. Surkan, Olof Stephansson, Paul W. Dickman, Sven Cnattingius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Some causes of stillbirth may also lead to fetuses that are small for gestational age (have a low birth weight with respect to their gestational age) or are delivered preterm (before 37 weeks of gestation). It is not known whether the birth of a previous small-for-gestational-age or preterm infant increases the subsequent risk of stillbirth. METHODS: We assessed the associations between previous adverse outcomes of pregnancy and the risk of stillbirth in a nationwide Swedish study of 410,021 women who delivered first and second consecutive singleton infants between 1983 and 1997. There were 1842 and 1062 stillbirths during the first and second pregnancies, respectively. RESULTS: As compared with women whose first infantwas born at term (37 weeks of gestation or more) and was not small for gestational age, women whose first infant was born at term or preterm and was small for gestational age had an increased risk of stillbirth during their second pregnancy. The odds ratios for subsequent stillbirth, after adjustment for covariates known to be associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, were 2.1 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 2.8) among women with a first infant who was born at term and was small for gestational age, 3.4 (95 percent confidence interval, 2.1 to 5.6) among women with a first infant who was moderately (32 to 36 weeks of gestation) preterm and small for gestational age, and 5.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 2.5 to 9.8) among women with a first infant who was very (before 32 weeks of gestation) preterm and was small for gestational age. The odds ratio for subsequent stillbirth among women with a first stillborn infantwas 2.5 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 4.7), as compared with women whose first infant was not stillborn. The rates of stillbirth in second pregnancies ranged from 2.4 per 1000 births among women whose first infant was born at term and was not small for gestational age to 19.0 per 1000 births among women whose first child was very preterm and was small for gestational age. CONCLUSIONS: Delivery of a previous small-for-gestational-age infant is an important predictor of the subsequent risk of stillbirth, particularly of the infant was delivered preterm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-785
Number of pages9
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume350
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 19 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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