The state organization that tracks birth defects in Iowa is expanding the scope of its work. Paul Romitti of the Iowa Registry for Congenital and Inherited disorders says they’ll now monitor and identify stillborn babies in the state. He says they hope to be able to use the information to identify the fetal deaths and in the future identify factors that may’ve contributed to the deaths so they can help prevent the deaths.
Romitti says there are about 200 stillbirths in Iowa each year. Romitti says until now they only kept track of stillbirths that included a birth defect. Romitti says they’re getting the information collection system in place. He’s not sure there’s a set number of years of information they’ll need to detect trends in stillbirths. He says they’ve been conducting birth defect surveillance for 20 years and they hope to be as “effective and successful” in stillbirth surveillance.
The effort to expand the surveillance to stillborn babies was led in part by State Representative Janet Petersen of Des Moines.