Stillbirth is the death of a baby before or during birth and a tragic event that affects many millions of families each year. Stillbirth is at least ten times more common than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The total number of stillbirths worldwide is estimated to be 2.65 million per year. The vast majority of these deaths occur in low to middle income countries (developing countries), accounting for more than 99% of the deaths. In higher income countries, although stillbirths are less frequent, they make up over 60% of all perinatal deaths.
There has been a 14.5% decrease in stillbirth between 1995 and 2009 worldwide. However, over the past decade the rate of stillbirth has remained largely unchanged in many developed countries. That combined with the high stillbirth rates in developing countries means that stillbirth remains a daunting public health problem. A country's stillbirth rates are considered to be the most important indicator of mother and child health. Research and prevention efforts are as essential as ever.
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