The causes of fetal death may be grouped under two main heads: maternal and fetal, but it is difficult to classify them in such a simple manner. A fetus, Holland1 has stated, becomes an infant, child or baby as soon as it has breathed. The fetus dies when its heart ceases to beat. Ballantyne2 has suggested that the term stillbirth should be applied if a child is born "still" but with discoverable signs of life, such as a beating heart, and that deadbirth should be applied if life is actually extinct. De Lee3 feels that the simplest classification would use the two terms synonomously. In this report all births included as stillbirths are those in which the fetus never breathed, even though the heart continued to beat for a few minutes after birth.
This report is based on observations made in 338 necropsies performed on stillborn fetuses
GILLESPIE JB. STILLBIRTHS: ANALYSIS OF THE CAUSES OF DEATH IN 338 CASES AS DETERMINED BY NECROPSY. Am J Dis Child. 1932;44(1):9–15. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1932.01950080019002
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