Stillbirth Research Data Base - Study details

The New Zealand Multi-centre Stillbirth Study

Study Aim To identify modifiable risk factors for late stillbirth in New Zealand. In particular we aim to explore the relationship between maternal going to sleep position and stillbirth risk.
Study Design/Methods Case control study. Cases are women with non-anomalous singleton stillbirths and controls are women with ongoing pregnancies at similar gestations. The ratio of cases to controls is 1:3. Target numbers of recruits : Stillbirth cases 291, Pregnant Controls 582
Countries of Recruitment New Zealand
Target number of participants
Short synopsis One hundred and sixty four babies were stillborn after 28 weeks of pregnancy in New Zealand in 2013; the loss of three babies each week. Late stillbirth is particularly tragic, as these babies are stillborn at a viable gestation and nearly 30% of these deaths are currently classified as “unexplained”. There has been little change in the rate of late stillbirth in high income countries in recent decades, despite the main risk factors for late stillbirth (obesity, advanced maternal age, and smoking) being well known. In 2011, the Auckland Stillbirth Study reported insights into several potentially modifiable factors associated with late stillbirth, including raised maternal body mass index, grandmultiparity, fewer antenatal visits than recommended, reduced fetal movements, and late pregnancy maternal sleep position. These factors, in particular maternal sleep position, provided an important stimulus for further research. This led to the larger New Zealand wide Multi-centre Stillbirth Study, which commenced in 2012, and is designed to confirm or refute the Auckland Stillbirth Study findings and identify modifiable risk factors for late stillbirth using the same method.
Funding sources Health Research Council of New Zealand, CureKids and the Nurture Foundation.
Ethics Board Approval Health and Disability Ethics Committees: NTX/06/05/054/AM04
Study contact name Professor Lesley McCowan
Contact email
Sponsoring organizations University of Auckland
Collaborators Prof. Lesley McCowan Assoc Prof John Thompson Ms Robin Cronin Ms Billie Bradford Prof. Edwin Mitchell Dr. Alec Ekeroma Assoc Prof. Beverley Lawton
Status In Progress
(expected) Year of completion 2016
Citation details of journal articles McCowan L, Thompson J, Cronin R, Ekeroma A, Lawton B, Mitchell E (2014) Supine sleep position in late pregnancy is associated with increased stillbirth. Abstract # 038 p.54. Available: Accessed 2016 Jan 26.
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