Rethinking stillbirth through behaviour change

Rethinking stillbirth through behaviour change | PhD Thesis: Dr Tamara Escañuela Sánchez.


Tamara Escañuela Sánchez



Full Citation

Escañuela Sánchez T. Rethinking stillbirth through behaviour change. [Doctoral dissertation]. Cork: University College Cork; 2022.

Link to Publication


Worldwide, two million babies are stillborn every year. Though not all stillbirths are preventable, there have been calls made in high-income countries to focus on risk factors for stillbirth, in order to reduce stillbirth rates. These risk factors include sociodemographic factors, medical factors, obstetric history-related factors, placental and fetal-related factors as well as behavioural and lifestyle-related factors. Some of these factors are modifiable through medical management or through behaviour change modification. The research in this thesis focuses on risk factors that have the potential to be modified through maternal behaviour change interventions: substance use (smoking, alcohol, and illicit drug use), high BMI, sleep position, and attendance at antenatal care. This research makes a valuable contribution to the understanding of these behaviours, and provides a necessary evidence-base to inform future prevention strategies to reduce rates of stillbirth in Ireland and elsewhere. The findings from the individual studies support four overarching topics and highlight issues related to: (1) health literacy and sources of information, (2) relationships with healthcare professionals, (3) healthcare systems and structural barriers, and (4) interpersonal, social and structural factors. Several recommendations are made in relation to policy, practice and research which are grounded on women’s experiences during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,