Stillbirth: A sociopolitical issue

Joanne Cacciatore, Suzanne Bushfield

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Scopus citations


    Stillbirth occurs in approximately 1 out of 110 births in the United States, yet little is understood about this experience. Unexplained stillbirths are major contributors to the developed world's perinatal mortality, as only about half have an identifiable cause of death. Because stillbirths are unpredictable and thus unpreventable, given the current state of science, researchers have called for more uniform definitions, a stricter postmortem protocol, standardized data collection, and increased funding to aid in prevention. The macrosystem for stillbirths includes epidemiology and public health systems that gather statistics on the incidence of stillbirth and its known causes and state record keeping related to both birth and death. Legitimation for women who have experienced stillbirth, through legislative and terminological changes, education, and research, is overdue, despite fears that related policy will trump reproductive rights. This article explores recent policy changes promoted by grassroots organizations relating to how stillbirths are recorded.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)378-387
    Number of pages10
    JournalAffilia - Journal of Women and Social Work
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


    • Bereavement
    • Fetal death
    • Social policy
    • Stillbirth

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gender Studies
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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