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Stillbirths higher in Aboriginal populations

Compiled by Shari Narine


Aboriginal populations in Canada rank at the top of the list of disadvantaged groups with the highest rates of stillbirth in the Western world. A study published in the February issue of CMAJ shows that stillbirth per 1,000 births were greater among Inuit (6.8) and First Nations (5.7) than among non-Aboriginal (3.6) residents. Stillbirth rates in Aboriginal populations were particularly high at term gestation. Poor fetal growth, placental disorders and congenital anomalies were important causes of stillbirth among the Inuit, and diabetic and hypertensive complications were important causes in the First Nations population. Prevention may require improvements in pregnancy and obstetric care. The research was undertaken by a team led by Nathalie Auger, MD MSc, who compared gestational age–and cause-specific stillbirth rates in Inuit and First Nations populations with the rates in the non-Aboriginal population in Quebec.

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