The terms fetal death, fetal demise, stillbirth, and stillborn all refer to the delivery of a fetus showing no signs of life. The terms will be used interchangeably in this topic review; however, it should be noted that parent groups prefer the term stillbirth to the other terms.
The incidence, etiology, and prevention of fetal death will be reviewed here. Diagnosis and management of fetal demise, as well as pathological evaluation of stillborns and counseling parents after stillbirth are discussed separately:
●(See "Diagnosis and management of stillbirth".)
●(See "Evaluation of stillbirth".)
●(See "Counseling and caring for parents after fetal demise and stillbirth".)