Intrauterine Fetal Demise

What is Intrauterine Fetal Demise?

Intrauterine fetal demise, or stillbirth, is the medical term for a baby that dies in the womb after the 20th week of a pregnancy. Intrauterine fetal demise is never the desired outcome of a pregnancy, but it can happen for a variety of reasons.

Some reasons for an intrauterine fetal demise include:

  • Genetic diseases
  • A fall or accident
  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • An infection in the mother, such as E. coli, rubella or chickenpox, that spreads to the fetus

Sometimes the reason for an intrauterine fetal demise is unknown.

Symptoms that may indicate intrauterine fetal demise:

  • Not feeling the fetus moving or kicking
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Infection or high fever
  • Bleeding from the vagina

Your medical caregiver will be able to determine if there has been an intrauterine fetal demise.

Tests to determine intrauterine fetal demise include:

  • Ultrasound: checking for signs of movement and life within the womb
  • Non-Stress Testing: the fetus is connected to a fetal heart monitor for 20 minutes to ensure proper heart rate
  • Biophysical Profile: an ultrasound and a non-stress test together check for vital signs in the fetus
  • Umbilical Artery Doppler Velocimetry: checking for proper blood flow in the umbilical cord


Author:Birth Injury Justice Center
Birth Injury Justice Center

The Birth Injury Justice Center was founded in 2003 by a team of legal professionals to educate and empower victims and families affected by birth injuries. Our team is devoted to providing you with the best resources and legal information for all types of birth injuries.

Last modified: December 4, 2018

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Birth injuries are instances of physical harm during childbirth directly caused by medical errors. There are many types of birth injuries, ranging from mild to severe. Birth injuries—may cause irreversible damage. Birth injuries are instances of physical harm during childbirth directly caused by medical errors.

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