Prediction of stillbirth: an umbrella review of evaluation of prognostic variables

R Townsend* (Corresponding Author), F G Sileo, J Allotey, J Dodds, A Heazell, L Jorgensen, V B Kim, L Magee, B Mol, J Sandall, Gcs Smith, B Thilaganathan, P von Dadelszen, S Thangaratinam, A Khalil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Stillbirth accounts for over 2 million deaths a year worldwide and rates remains stubbornly high. Multivariable prediction models may be key to individualised monitoring, intervention or early birth in pregnancy to prevent stillbirth.

OBJECTIVES: To collate and evaluate systematic reviews of factors associated with stillbirth in order to identify variables relevant to prediction model development.

SEARCH STRATEGY: MEDLINE, Embase, DARE and Cochrane Library databases and reference lists were searched up to November 2019.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included systematic reviews of association of individual variables with stillbirth without language restriction.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Abstract screening and data extraction were conducted in duplicate. Methodological quality was assessed using AMSTAR and QUIPS criteria. The evidence supporting association with each variable was graded.

RESULTS: The search identified 1198 citations. Sixty-nine systematic reviews reporting 64 variables were included. The most frequently reported were maternal age (n = 5), body mass index (n = 6) and maternal diabetes (n = 5). Uterine artery Doppler appeared to have the best performance of any single test for stillbirth. The strongest evidence of association was for nulliparity and pre-existing hypertension.

CONCLUSION: We have identified variables relevant to the development of prediction models for stillbirth. Age, parity and prior adverse pregnancy outcomes had a more convincing association than the best performing tests, which were PAPP-A, PlGF and UtAD. The evidence was limited by high heterogeneity and lack of data on intervention bias.

TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: Review shows key predictors for use in developing models predicting stillbirth include age, prior pregnancy outcome and PAPP-A, PLGF and Uterine artery Doppler.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-250
Number of pages13
JournalBJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Epidemiology
  • perinatal
  • fetal medicine
  • perinatal diagnosis
  • serum screening
  • systematic reviews
  • ultrasound
  • fetal medicine: serum screening
  • Epidemiology: perinatal
  • fetal medicine: perinatal diagnosis
  • AGE


Dive into the research topics of 'Prediction of stillbirth: an umbrella review of evaluation of prognostic variables'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this