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Keywords:

  • Fetal death;
  • infection;
  • parvovirus B19;
  • pregnancy;
  • risk factors

Objectives  To assess the association between maternal parvovirus B19 infection and fetal death, birthweight and length of gestation.

Design  Case–control study.

Setting  Population based.

Population  Cases were all 281 women with fetal death within a cohort of 35 940 pregnant woxmen in Norway. The control group consisted of a random sample of 957 women with a live born child.

Method  Information on pregnancy outcome was obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. First trimester serum samples were tested for antibodies against parvovirus B19 (IgM and IgG). In seronegative women, further serum was analysed to detect seroconversion during pregnancy.

Main outcome measures  Fetal death, length of gestation and birthweight.

Results  Two of 281 (0.7%) of the women who experienced fetal death and nine of 957 (0.9%) of the controls had presence of IgM antibodies, crude odds ratio 0.8; 95% CI (0.2–3.5). In initially, seronegative women, 3.1% (2/65) with fetal death and 2.6% (8/307) with a live birth seroconverted, crude odds ratio 1.2; 95% CI (0.2–5.7). Presence of maternal parvovirus-specific IgG or IgM antibodies in the first trimester, or seroconversion during pregnancy were not associated with lower birthweight or reduced length of gestation in live born children, but was associated with low birthweight in stillborn offspring.

Conclusion  Maternal parvovirus B19 infection was not associated with fetal death in our study. Very few cases of fetal death may be attributed to maternal parvovirus B19 infection.