Stress increases risk of stillbirth, NIH study finds

Pregnant women who experience financial, emotional or personal stress in their lives are at a higher risk for stillbirth, according to a National Institutes of Health network study.

In a study of 2,000 women, 1 in 5 women with stillbirths reported five or more recent stressful life events. Women with more stressful situations in their lives were two times more likely to have a stillbirth than women who had none.

Researchers also found non-Hispanic black women had more stressful life events than non-Hispanic white women and Hispanic women, which may provide explanation to why non-Hispanic black women have higher rates of stillbirths.

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition’s Healthy Start Service Delivery Plan addresses the link between racism and stress. Racial disparities have an effect on maternal stress. Black women who experience maternal stress due to racism have higher rates of poor birth outcomes.

In response, Coalition efforts such as the Magnolia Project, the Azalea Project and the Make A Difference! Leadership Academy have begun new life-course initiatives to address racism and social determinants in the community. These life-course initiatives are found to have a greater impact than previous methods of services.