Conceiving within a year of stillbirth is safe, study confirms

A new study has found that women who get pregnant within a year of stillbirth are not at a higher risk of complications or suffering a stillbirth again compared to women who wait for two years.

Over 14,452 single births that occurred between 1980 and 2016 were analysed by the team of researchers. Women from Norway, Finland and Australia, who suffered a stillbirth in the past took part in the study.

63 percent of participants conceived within 12 months of the stillbirth. Of the 14, 452 births, 228 (2 percent) were stillbirths, 2532 (18 percent) were preterm births, and 1284 (9 percent) were small-for-gestational-age births.

The researchers explained: “Compared with an inter pregnancy interval of 24–59 months, intervals shorter than 12 months were not associated with increased odds of subsequent stillbirth, preterm birth or small-for-gestational-age birth.”

They found no difference in the association between inter pregnancy interval and birth outcomes by the gestational length of the past stillbirth.

Annette Regan, research fellow at Curtin University in Perth said: "Approximately 3.5 in every 1,000 births in high-income countries are stillborn, and there is limited guidance available for planning future pregnancies."

"We hope that our findings can provide reassurance to women who wish to become pregnant or unexpectedly become pregnant shortly after a stillbirth," the study author added.

The study was published in The Lancet medical journal.

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