For many Pennsylvania couples, discovering that they are pregnant is a happy occasion. However, there is always a risk that the woman will suffer a stillbirth. In most cases, a stillbirth is when the child dies after 20 weeks of gestation. Most stillbirths occur before the delivery, though they can happen during the actual labor and delivery.
There are a number of causes that can contribute to a stillbirth. Some stillbirths are caused by chromosomal disorders and other birth defects, which accounts for approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of all stillbirths. In some cases, the fetus may fail to grow or are smaller than normal. These fetuses are at risk for dying from asphyxia, which is a lack of oxygen. A bacterial infection that occurs between 24 and 27 weeks of gestation may also cause the death of a fetus. Other stillbirths can occur if the mother suffers some form of trauma or high blood pressure.