Stillbirths: economic and psychosocial consequences

Alexander E P Heazell*, Dimitrios Siassakos, Hannah Blencowe, Christy Burden, Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Joanne Cacciatore, Nghia Dang, Jai Das, Vicki Flenady, Katherine J Gold, Olivia K Mensah, Joseph Millum, Daniel Nuzum, Keelin O'Donoghue, Maggie Redshaw, Arjumand Rizvi, Tracy Roberts, H E Toyin Saraki, Claire E Storey, Aleena M WojcieszekSoo Downe, Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirths Series study group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

366 Citations (Scopus)
1097 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the frequency of stillbirths, the subsequent implications are overlooked and underappreciated. We present findings from comprehensive, systematic literature reviews, and new analyses of published and unpublished data, to establish the effect of stillbirth on parents, families, health-care providers, and societies worldwide. Data for direct costs of this event are sparse but suggest that a stillbirth needs more resources than a livebirth, both in the perinatal period and in additional surveillance during subsequent pregnancies. Indirect and intangible costs of stillbirth are extensive and are usually met by families alone. This issue is particularly onerous for those with few resources. Negative effects, particularly on parental mental health, might be moderated by empathic attitudes of care providers and tailored interventions. The value of the baby, as well as the associated costs for parents, families, care providers, communities, and society, should be considered to prevent stillbirths and reduce associated morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-616
Number of pages13
Issue number10018
Early online date19 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2016


  • Stillbirth
  • Systematic review
  • Health Economics
  • Intangible costs


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