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Severe maternal morbidity following stillbirth in Western Australia 2000–2015: a population-based study

Bailey, H.D., Adane, A.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-3022-5230, White, S.W., Farrant, B.M. and Shepherd, C.C.J. (2022) Severe maternal morbidity following stillbirth in Western Australia 2000–2015: a population-based study. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics .

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There is scant literature about the management of stillbirth and the subsequent risk of severe maternal morbidity (SMM). We aimed to assess the risk of SMM associated with stillbirths compared with live births and whether this differed by the presence of maternal comorbidities.


In this retrospective cohort study, we used a population-based dataset of all stillbirths and live births ≥ 20 weeks’ gestation in Western Australia between 2000 and 2015. SMM was identified using a published Australian composite for use with routinely collected hospital morbidity data. Maternal comorbidities were identified in the Hospital Morbidity Data Collection or the Midwives Notification System using a modified Australian chronic disease composite. Multivariable Poisson regression was used to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for factors associated with SMM in analyses stratified by the presence of maternal comorbidities. Singleton and multiple pregnancies were examined separately.


This study included 458,639 singleton births (2319 stillbirths and 456,320 live births). The adjusted RRs for SMM among stillbirths were 2.30 (95% CI 1.77, 3.00) for those without comorbidities and 4.80 (95% CI 4.11, 5.59) (Interaction P value < 0.0001) for those with comorbidities compared to live births without and with comorbidities, respectively.


In Western Australia between 2000 and 2015, mothers of stillbirths both with and without any maternal comorbidities had an increased risk of SMM compared with live births. Further investigation into why women who have had a stillbirth without any existing conditions or pregnancy complications develop SMM is warranted.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Ngangk Yira Institute for Change
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
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