Skip to main content

The public awareness of stillbirth: an Irish population study

Plain language summary from BJOG's Stillbirth themed issue
Read the full study

This study aimed to find out what the general public know about the risk factors associated with stillbirth and whether stillbirth can be prevented. Many stillbirth risk factors can be identified and when they are, healthcare professionals can monitor pregnancy and hopefully reduce the possibility of a baby dying before birth. A sample of 999 people from the Irish population was surveyed by a professional telephone polling company for this study.

The results of this study found that most people did not know how common stillbirth was and also believed that only a minority could be prevented. Most people were not able to identify any risk factors that can lead to stillbirth. Most people knew someone who had had a stillbirth and likewise most people believed that all stillbirths should be investigated to find a cause.

It is possible that some people do not know the difference between stillbirth and miscarriage and this question was not asked in this study. Six people did not complete the interview as the topic of stillbirth was too sensitive. It is possible that these people had experienced a stillbirth themselves and so their results are not included.

This study highlights the importance of increasing public awareness about stillbirth by providing clear information to women and their partners that there are risk factors associated with stillbirth that can be identified and monitored. The results of this study suggest that these risk factors could be highlighted in antenatal preparation classes and public health campaigns.


Reproduced from: Nuzum D, Meaney S, O’Donoghue K. The public awareness of stillbirth: an Irish population study. BJOG 2018;125:246–252;