Macerated Stillbirth

  • Andrew R. BamberEmail author
  • Roger D. G. Malcomson


Stillbirth is defined as the birth of a viable baby without signs of life. They account for more than 2.5 million intrauterine deaths per year worldwide and are associated with a number of risk factors, the most important of which are maternal and placental factors. Autopsy provides information that may be of use in determining time since death, gestational age of the fetus, mode of death, cause of fetal demise, and the likelihood of recurrence. The format of the autopsy is guided by parental consent, but even when consent is limited, valuable information may be obtained by careful consideration of antemortem test results, imaging, and genetic testing. Where there is a delay between death and delivery, fetuses are affected by maceration, which may increase the technical complexity of the autopsy and impart a number of artifactual changes, which should not be misinterpreted as genuine pathology. The most common pathologies encountered at autopsy are placental abnormalities, changes related to maternal disorders, malformations, and central nervous system pathology.


Stillbirth Maceration Intrauterine fetal death Autopsy Risk factors Fetus Placenta Maternal factors Skin slippage Edema Severe maceration Blood-stained effusions Placental color change Umbilical cord color change Autolysis Tissue cohesion Mineralization Softening Placental disease Umbilical cord abnormalities Asphyxiation Maternal hypertension Maternal diabetes Multiple gestation Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCL Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Cellular PathologyUniversity Hospital of WalesCardiffUK
  3. 3.Department of HistopathologyUniversity Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal InfirmaryLeicesterUK

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