- The tragic birth of a dead baby, the delivery of a fetus that has died before birth. There is no possibility of resuscitation. The word "stillbirth" is a fusion of "still" in the now-obsolete sense of "dead" and "birth" = dead birth. The distinction between a stillbirth and a miscarriage is arbitrary. The dividing line is variously set at 20 to 24 weeks of gestation. Before that time it is a miscarriage (also called a spontaneous abortion). After that time it is a stillbirth.
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* * *n.birth of a fetus that shows no evidence of life (heartbeat, respiration, or independent movement) at any time later than 24 weeks after conception. Under the Stillbirth (Definition) Act 1992, there is a legal obligation to notify all stillbirths to the appropriate authority. The number of such births expressed per 1000 births (live and still) is known as the stillbirth rate. In legal terms, viability is deemed to start at the 24th week of pregnancy and a fetus born dead before this time is known as an abortion or miscarriage. However, some fetuses born alive before the 24th week may now survive as a result of improved perinatal care.
* * *still·birth (stilґburth″) the delivery of a dead child; see fetal death, under death.
Medical dictionary. 2011.