What is Stillbirth?
A stillbirth is defined as the birth of the baby who has died anytime from 20 weeks into the pregnancy through to the due date of birth.
What causes Stillbirth?
The causes of stillbirth are not known, but some factors are known to increase the risk such as:
*A premature birth
*Fetal growth restriction, recognized or unrecognized
*Complications during birth
*Smoking, drinking alcohol
How can you reduce the risk of Stillbirth?
Even though the causes of stillbirth are not known, there are several things you can do to lower the risk of having one.
It is recommended that women after 28 weeks of pregnancy should sleep on their side.
1. Seek help if fetal movements decrease
If you experience decreased fetal movement, then you should immediately contact the doctor as there can be a problem with the baby which includes poor growth, disability, and stillbirth.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking during pregnancy is strongly related to stillbirth and other problems such as fetal growth restriction, premature birth, and SIDs. There are many benefits of quitting smoking for both women and their babies, but the rate of quitting smoking during pregnancy is very low.
3. Attend check-ups to monitor the baby’s growth and keep maternal blood sugar levels within a normal range. Keep BP in the normal range.
Frequent check-ups are advised if any of these factors are out of range.
Measuring the amount of liquor around the baby is advised if it is found less or near the lower limits
It is advised to monitor the baby’s pattern of movements as through monitoring you can easily notice if they become unwell. Regularly go for antenatal appointments and scans as they are designed to spot problems early so that anything that is spotted can be treated early before.
4. Optimize birth timing, if possible
The risk of stillbirth increases as women approach and go past their due date, as the placental function decreases. Although the risk of stillbirth from being overdue is very low, there are some women who are in higher risk groups. This includes women who:
* Are older the 35 years
* Are overweight
* Have pre-existing diabetes
* Are having their first baby
* Have had a previous stillbirth
We aim to reduce stillbirths for women at or near the end of the pregnancy, while not increasing unnecessary intervention.