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B.C.’s stillbirth rate up by 31 per cent

It is a sad reality to see a story like this describing increased “stillbirth” as a positive development. 

Vancouver Sun, April 9 2013: Better prenatal screening and increases in pregnancy terminations for major birth defects is driving B.C.’s rising rate of stillbirths, new research suggests.

After decades of decline, rates of stillbirth – defined as the death of a fetus after 20 weeks gestation – have increased in several countries, including Canada.

A new study published in this week’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that the rate of stillbirths in B.C. alone increased by 31 per cent over a decade due to increases in pregnancy terminations for serious congenital anomalies.

The overall B.C. stillbirth rate rose from 8.08 per 1,000 births in 2000 to 10.55 per 1,000 in 2010. Stillbirths are defined as either the loss – spontaneously or through abortion – of a fetus after 20 weeks, or the loss of a fetus weighing more than 500 grams. Before that gestational age, or under that weight, “miscarriage” is the term used to describe pregnancy loss. Statistics on miscarriages are not recorded.

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