November 10, 2022
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
This is a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input regarding the development of strategies to improve the impact NIH-funded biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research on stillbirth.
Stillbirth—the death of a fetus at or after the 20th week of pregnancy—is devastating for expectant parents and families. Unfortunately, it remains all too common in the United States, with more than 21,000 occurrences annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since the 1940s, improvements in maternity care have dramatically reduced the occurrence of stillbirth, but these improvements have slowed in recent years. Stillbirth remains a devastating reality for many families and takes a severe toll on families’ health and well-being. Stillbirth has many possible causes, including pregnancy complications, infections, and birth defects. Unfortunately, often health care providers cannot identify the exact cause of a stillbirth, and families are left sadly wondering why. Stillbirth affects families from all demographics across the United States, although rates are higher among certain populations, including Black and American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
NICHD and other NIH Institutes and Centers support research on the causes of stillbirth, its occurrence in populations, risk factors, and prevention methods. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently asked NICHD to lead a congressionally mandated task force on stillbirth. The stillbirth working group will focus on the barriers to collecting data on stillbirth in the United States, communities at higher risk, the psychological impacts of stillbirth, and known risk factors for stillbirth. They will present their recommendations to the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council in January 2023, with a report due to HHS in March 2023.
As part of the working group’s efforts, the NICHD is requesting input from parents, advocates, researchers and others to synthesize information and develop strategies to improve the scientific evidence base for stillbirth prevention.
The NIH seeks to address research gaps by developing and expanding approaches to scientific research on stillbirth. Of particular interest is information on how to improve the evidence base for prevention, including data on the causes of stillbirth; the impact of a wide range of biomedical, social, and environmental risk factors; improving clinical practice related to stillbirth prevention; supporting families who experience stillbirth; and addressing the needs for better public health data. The NIH seeks input from advocates, parents, researchers, professional societies and the public on potential strategies to achieve these goals. We invite comments on any or all of the following areas:
How to Submit a Response
Responses will be accepted through January 6, 2023.
Responses must be submitted electronically to the following email address: NICHDStillbirth@mail.nih.gov.
This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the government. The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the government’s use of that information.
The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. Responses to the RFI may be reflected in future funding opportunity announcements. The information provided will be analyzed, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website. Respondents are advised that the government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s), policies or procedures.
NICHD Stillbirth Team
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development