Clinical Examination

Clinical description is often crucial in finding a cause of a stillbirth. A suggested outline for such a clinical examination of a stillborn infant is provided on the next page. This examination is entirely analogous to the portion of the newborn examination done in liveborn babies to look for possible malformations. It should be able to be completed in about 10 minutes even by a relatively inexperienced examiner. Further details and illustrative help can be found following the clinical examination outline in the section entitled clinical examination demonstration.

In the first 1000 stillborn infants examined through WiSSP protocol, about 25% were found to have demonstrable abnormalities by clinical assessment. And, an unbiased subset of these analyses suggests that not completing external physical assessment would have resulted in about 4% of diagnoses being missed.