Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network (SCRN)


Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network (SCRN) logoSCRN was established in 2003 to examine the etiology and epidemiology of stillbirth, defined as fetal death at 20 weeks or more of gestation. In the United States, stillbirth occurs in approximately 1 out of every 160 pregnancies, or about 26,000 stillbirths per year, although the number has declined in the past decade. Not all cases of stillbirth are reported, and some studies suggest the actual number of stillbirths is significantly greater than the estimates. The cause or causes of approximately one-half of stillbirths are undetermined.

The network, funded through a cooperative agreement from NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, seeks to understand the causes of stillbirth, improve stillbirth reporting, and develop preventive interventions for the condition. In addition, SCRN’s work is leading to the standardization of reporting procedures and post-mortem examination protocols, which allow more accurate data on the topic.

The network includes five clinical research sites at universities across the nation, as well as the data coordinating center (DCC).

Topic Areas

SCRN studies include surveillance, case-control, and follow-up studies on stillbirth. Case-by-case analyses include clinical history, postmortem examination of the fetus, and placental pathology. Network studies seek to identify risk factors for stillbirth, including environmental and geographical factors. Enrollment of 668 stillbirths and 1,768 live births in 59 hospitals was completed August 31, 2008.

Network studies include the following:

  • A surveillance study of all stillbirths occurring in the geographical catchment areas of the five clinical sites, involving retrospective record abstraction and prospective surveillance to assess the completeness of two sources of stillbirth reports, including hospital labor and delivery logs and state vital statistics records
  • The first large case-control stillbirth study in the United States to simultaneously include population-based controls and complete fetal autopsy and placental pathology examinations to obtain high-quality information about stillbirth and study risk factors for stillbirth by obtaining detailed information from live birth controls
  • A follow-up study to determine the number of women who have had subsequent pregnancies and/or complications following a stillbirth, to evaluate how well women who have had a stillbirth are able to resolve their grief, and to examine whether life-course stresses and environmental factors are associated with an increased risk of stillbirth

Network Sites

  • Brown University
  • Emory University
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • University of Utah

RTI International is the DCC for the SCRN.


Bukowski, R., Hansen, N. I., Willinger, M., Reddy, U. M., Parker, C. B., Pinar, H., Silver, R. M., ... Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network. (2014). Fetal growth and risk of stillbirth: a population-based case-control study. PLoS Medicine, 11(4): e1001633. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001633. PMID24755550.

Carol, J. R. H., Corette, B. P., Marian, W., Jeff, R. T., Carla, M. B., Robert, M. S., Donald, J. D., ... for, . Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network Working Group. (2013). A population-based case-control study of stillbirth: the relationship of significant life events to the racial disparity for African Americans. American Journal of Epidemiology, 177, 8, 755-767. PMID23531847.

Parker, C. B., Hogue, C. J. R., Koch, M. A., Willinger, M., Reddy, U. M., Thorsten, V. R., Dudley, D. J., ... Goldenberg, R. (2011). Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network: Design, methods, and recruitment experience: Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 25, 5, 425-435 . PMID21819424.

Pinar, H., Goldenberg, R. L., Koch, M. A., Heim-Hall, J., Hawkins, H. K., Shehata, B., Abramowsky, C., ... Reddy, U. M. (2014). Placental findings in singleton stillbirths. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 123, 325-336. PMID24402599.

Reddy, U. M. (2012). Karyotype versus microarray testing for genetic abnormalities after stillbirth. New England Journal of Medicine, 367, 23, 2185-2193. PMID23215556.

Silver, R. M., Parker, C. B., Reddy, U. M., Goldenberg, R., Coustan, D., Dudley, D. J., Saade, G. R., ... Branch, D. W. (2013). Antiphospholipid antibodies in stillbirth. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 122, 3, 641-657.  PMID23921873.

Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network Writing Group. (2011). Association between stillbirth and risk factors known at pregnancy confirmation. JAMA, 306, 22, 2469-79. PMID22166606.

Varner, M. W., Silver, R. M., Rowland, H. C. J., Willinger, M., Parker, C. B., Thorsten, V. R., Goldenberg, R. L., ... Reddy, U. M. (2014). Association between stillbirth and illicit drug use and smoking during pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 123, 1, 113-125. PMID24463671.

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