Stillbirths: economic and psychosocial consequences

Lancet. 2016 Feb 6;387(10018):604-616. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00836-3. Epub 2016 Jan 19.


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 We present findings from comprehensive, systematic literature reviews, and new analyses of published and unpublished data, to establish the effect of stillbirth on parents, families, health-care providers, and societies worldwide.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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Financial Support
  • Grief
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Expenditures
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Parents / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / economics
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Social Security
  • Social Support
  • Stereotyping
  • Stillbirth / economics*
  • Stillbirth / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology