Background: Stillbirths are believed to contribute to the overwhelming majority of perinatal
mortality in some developing countries. Though the facilities and expertise for perinatal post
mortem examination are lacking in Ethiopia, studies have indicated that useful information
could be obtained from careful review of clinical records.
Objective: This study is aimed at identifying probable causes, comparison of selected fetal
and maternal variables between cases and controls and suggests possible preventive options.
Methods: This study was a retrospective comparative study of stillbirths with sex matched
live births. It was conducted at Tikur Anbessa Hospital. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from Sept.
11, 2000-Sept. 10 2001, based on information retrieved from individual patient records and
using a structured data entry format. The main study variables were maternal sociodemographic
features, antenatal care(ANC) attendance, and gestational age of index
pregnancy, birth weight, modes of delivery and probable causes of stillbirths.
Results: The stillbirth rate (SBR) was 55.3/1000 births and contributed to 77.2% of the
gross perinatal mortality (GPNM). ANC attendance (85.7%) and residence in Addis Ababa
(82.3%) were significantly higher among controls than cases which had corresponding figures
of 69.4% and 55.1%, respectively. There was a statistically significant difference in low birth
weight (40.5%) and preterm (32.1%) stillbirths than controls with the respective figures of
15% and 11%, respectively. Mechanical factors were the commonest probable causes of death
accounting for 44.2% of all stillbirths, while 21.8% were unexplained stillbirths and ante
partum hemorrhage contributed to 15.7%.
Conclusion: It is suggested that proper antenatal and intra partum care can reduce
Keywords: Stillbirth rate, peri-natal mortality, intra-partum care