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My approach to performing a perinatal or neonatal autopsy
  1. H C Wainwright
  1. Correspondence to:
 Helen C Wainwright
 Division of Anatomical Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Anzio Road, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa; wainwrig{at}


An opportunity to determine the cause of death, factors that may have a role in it, and the extent and cause of malformations is provided by perinatal autopsy. The family may be assisted in finding closure after the death of their infant by the information obtained. Insight into classifying infants appearing normal into one of three groups, small, appropriate and large for gestational age, has been provided, as each group tends to have specific causes of death. In infants with congenital anomalies, patterns of malformation may lead us to the diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is required to provide counselling for a subsequent pregnancy.

  • CNS, central nervous system
  • MRI, magnetic resonance imaging

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  • Competing interests: None declared.