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Neonatal death | March of Dimes says,
Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is the most common cause of neonatal death.

In some cases, a pregnant woman may have health problems (such as high blood pressure), pregnancy complications (such as placental problems) or lifestyle factors (such as smoking) that increase her risk of delivering prematurely. More often, preterm labor develops unexpectedly in a pregnancy that had been problem-free.

Umbilical cord abnormalities, such as blood clots, caused 10.4 percent of stillbirths, while hypertension in the mother was implicated in just over 9 percent of stillbirths.


Fetal Autopsy - Fetal Autopsy After Stillbirth | About.com
The cause of fetal death can often be determined through gross and histopathologic examination of the fetus and placenta. Determining the cause of death is important because sooner or later parents will want to know "Why did this happen?" and "Will it happen again?" Answers to these questions are often impossible without information gained from pathologic examination.
Some stillbirths may be avoidable - USATODAY.com
  Stillbirth, defined as a fetus that dies during the 20th week of gestation or later, occurs in about one in 160 pregnancies in the United States, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  In the first study, about 500 women who'd had a stillborn baby agreed to an autopsy and genetic testing of the fetus, an examination of the placenta, as well as interviews and an analysis of their medical record.
  Researchers were able to determine the cause of death in 61 percent of stillbirths, and a "possible or probable" cause of death in more than three-fourths of cases.
  Placental abnormalities, such as blood clots, were blamed in 24 percent of stillbirths, making it the most common identifiable cause. Fetal genetic abnormalities, including trisomy 13 or 18 (involving an extra chromosome), and major birth defects of the brain or heart, were blamed in about 14 percent of stillbirths.
  Infections, either bacterial or viral, were blamed in 13 percent of stillbirths.
http://miscarriage.about.com/od/stillbirthcausesrisks/f/fetal-autopsy.htm

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last updated 16 May 2014