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Whats a stillbirth?

When a child dies in the womb beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is known as a stillbirth. The majority of stillbirths occur before a woman goes into labour, however, a small percentage occur during labour and delivery.

Stillbirth and pre-eclampsia:

Pre-eclampsia is a disorder that affects about 10% of all births in the UK and can result in stillbirth if left untreated. It’s most likely to happen with your first or subsequent delivery with a new relationship. High blood pressure is the most common symptom. Pre-eclampsia is among the pregnancy illnesses that your midwife would be looking out for, therefore it’s critical that you attend all of your antenatal appointments.

If you’re told that your heart rate has risen since the outset of your pregnancy, ask the midwife how big the increase is. Your midwife also will check for protein in your urine, so bring a urine sample with you to every appointment. If you decline to give a sample, the midwife cannot force you to do so, but it is possible that a crucial clue will be missed.

Cause of stillbirth:

While 25% to 60percent of stillbirths are undetermined,1 a number of established reasons can contribute to the death of a baby, including the following:

  • Birth problems: 14 percent of stillbirths are caused by gene mutations in the newborn or birth deformities such as anencephaly.
  • Diseases: In developed nations, infections such as bacterial vaginosis, group B streptococcus, parvovirus B19 (fifth illness), Listeria food poisoning, CMV, genital herpes, and syphilis account for up to 24percentage points of stillbirths (and/or miscarriages). Early stillbirths (20 – 28 weeks gestation) are more likely to be caused by infections than stillbirths after 28 weeks.
  • Placental abruption: Placental abruption is a condition in which the placenta separates early from the uterine wall. In 1% of pregnancies, there is some amount of placental abruption. This risk of stillbirth is proportional to the degree of distance, with a 50 percent or greater gap causing stillbirth more frequently.

Umbilical cord mishaps, such as a knot in the chord, a prolapsed cord (whenever the cord comes out from the vagina well before baby and becomes squeezed), or a cord firmly coiled around the infant’s neck, account for about 10% of stillbirths. Many kids, on the other hand, are born with the cord wrapped loosely around their neck, which causes no issues.

In the United States, around 1 per 160 pregnancies ends in stillbirth each year. One of the most common warning signals is the inability to hear the heartbeat using a stethoscope or an ultrasound examination. Still, each person’s experience with stillbirth is unique.

Can stress cause stillbirth?

According to the researchers’ findings, two stressful incidents increased a woman’s chances of stillbirth by roughly 40%. A woman who had five or even more stressful situations was rough twice as probable than a girl who had none to have a stillbirth.

Warning Signs Of Stillbirth:

These are the followings symptoms of stillbirth

  • Spotting
  • Bleeding
  • Foetal movement has slowed

These symptoms can be caused by a variety of other illnesses. As a result, it’s critical to speak with a doctor about them in order to figure out what’s causing them.

Movements of the baby in the womb:

Between 16 to 22 weeks, you will most likely begin to feel your baby’s movements in the womb. As the weeks pass, you may notice a particular movement that you are familiar with.

While you are resting in the evenings or before going to sleep at night, your child may move more. You may also notice that certain activities, such as taking a bath, relaxing on the sofa with your feet up, or eating and drinking, stimulate your baby to wiggle more.

By 26 weeks, the motions should be regular. Recognizing these movement patterns can be really helpful during your pregnancy. If a kid is having difficulties in the womb, he or she may likely move less than that to conserve energy. Detecting this and alerting your hospital as soon as possible can mean life or death and death.

If your baby’s movements have changed significantly, consult your doctor.

Do not wait until the next day to notify your midwife or maternity unit if you observe a change and reduction in the baby’s movements. If you believe your baby’s movements have changed, consult your doctor. It’s best to be cautious than sorry, so phone your maternity ward if you’re unsure. Trust your gut feelings.

If I report a difference in my baby’s movements, who will I contact?

Unless you’ve been given alternate phone numbers to call during the pregnancy, the best location to call is usually the hospital labour and delivery ward. The labour ward is provided not only for women who are in labour but also for situations that arise during the pregnancy. The ward ought to be open for 24 hours a day, and there should be a midwife on hand to talk to you about your symptoms and offer advice.

What happens if I have to go to the hospital?

They will most likely assess your health & listen to the baby’s heartbeat after you arrive at the hospital. They may connect you to a heart monitor, which records the trace of the baby’s heartbeat so that any indicators of issues can be investigated. You might be handed a button to press every making you comment on the baby move, which will show up on the heartbeat printout.

It’s extremely usual to feel your baby moving a lot if you lie down, check the baby’s heartbeat, and relax. Don’t be embarrassed if this happens to you; midwives see it all the time. It is far preferable to have your health tested so that any prospective concerns can be identified. Click here to learn more about what will happen if you report decreased foetal movements.

Sleeping position inside the third trimester: It is recommended that you sleep on your side after you reach the third trimester. Sleeping on your back has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage in studies. This advice includes napping throughout the day and sleeping at night. More information on safe sleeping postures during pregnancy can be found here.

In pregnancy, leaking fluid or vaginal discharge:

If you see any fluid leaking from your vaginal area throughout your pregnancy, call the hospital right away and schedule an appointment to be monitored. It could be an indication of womb infection or your waters breaking early.

Early in pregnancy, the waters break:

Water can break at any point during pregnancy, and just in the last few weeks, resulting in an early birth. It’s possible that your waters may rupture if you notice a gush and trickle of fluid or feel moist. Put on a cleaned sanitary towel (not a tampon) then call the labour ward in these circumstances. They may ask people to sniff your pad – as urine leakage is frequent during pregnancy – or to examine the pad once more in twenty minutes to see whether it is damp.

Amniotic fluid, or the fluid that surrounds the infant, has a different fragrance than urine and therefore is usually clear, pinkish, or green or brown in colour. It’s critical to get to the hospital as soon as possible if you suspect amniotic fluid. You may be told to wear a special pantyliner for up to 12 hours to confirm if you’re losing amniotic fluid, and an internal exam (inside the vagina) to check for evidence that your cervix is open or softening in preparation for labour.

Pregnancy-related infections:

Any drainage from your vaginal area that smells or isn’t white should be reported because it could be a symptom of the intrauterine infection. Infections can cause your waters to break, weaken the bags of membranes protecting the baby, or create an illness inside the womb.

If you have an odd discharge, speak with your midwife, GP, or hospital and request a sample to check for infection. Procedure for delivering a stillborn baby.

Doctors use a variety of techniques to deliver stillbirths, including:

  • Waiting for the pregnant woman to give birth
  • Dilating her cervix and removing the baby with equipment
  • Using drugs to open the cervix & make her uterus contract to induce labour

Doctors may do caesarean births in the event of stillbirth in some instances. A tiny 2017 study looked at the records of 611 people that had a sole stillbirth before or after the 20-week mark. It was discovered that roughly 15% of Trusted Source deliveries were caesarean.

Experts have connected caesarean deliveries of stillbirths to a risk of disease in the pregnant woman, according to the authors. As a result, they advocated for limiting the surgery to exceptional conditions.

Obesity is a medical condition. Obesity is defined as having an excess of body fat and a body mass index (commonly known as BMI) of 30 or greater. BMI is a formula that calculates your body fat percentage depending upon your height and weight. Visit to calculate your BMI.

  • Diabetes. Diabetes is a disorder in which your blood contains an excessive amount of sugar (glucose).
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure). The force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries is known as blood pressure. Arteries are blood arteries that transport blood from the heart to various regions of your body.
  • Abuse of drugs and alcohol. The use of certain hazardous chemicals raises the chances of stillbirth. Smoking, consuming alcohol or using illegal or prescription medications, such as opioids, are just a few examples.

Conditions of pregnancy and previous pregnancies:

  • You’re expecting multiples (twins, triplets or more).
  • You have pregnancy-related intrahepatic cholestasis (also called ICP). This is the most prevalent type of liver problem that occurs during pregnancy.
  • You had a previous pregnancy with difficulties such as early birth, hypertension, or foetal growth restriction. Preterm birth occurs when a baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a disease that can strike during or after the 20th week of gestation. It occurs when a pregnant woman has hypertension and evidence that her organs, such as the kidneys and liver, are malfunctioning. When a baby does not gain enough mass in the womb before delivery, it is called foetal growth restriction.
  • This is your first time giving delivery.
  • You’ve had a prior pregnancy ended in a miscarriage or loss. When a child dies inside the womb before the 20th week of pregnancy, it is called a miscarriage.
  • You’re 35 years old and pregnant. According to the American Royal college Of general Practitioners (ACOG), research reveals that a significant number of stillbirths among pregnant women aged 35 and up are caused by congenital or chromosomal problems.
  • You don’t have a lot of social support. Unmarried persons often have support networks of family and friends who are willing to assist them. Unmarried people, on the other hand, have been found to have a greater risk of stillbirth in several studies. This could be due to a lack of social support, according to researchers.

During pregnancy, collaborate with your medical team:

  1. It’s critical that any concerns that have or observations you make are treated seriously. Trust your instincts & report any problems, no matter how minor they may appear.
  2. Get to meet the midwives who will be looking after you during the pregnancy. Although if your meet a different midwife at each appointment, try to make the most of each one.
  3. If your BMI is 30 or more, you should undergo a diabetes test. NICE recommends that it be done between weeks 24 to 28 of pregnancy. If you are not given this test, inquire as to why.
  4. Inquire about your baby’s size; if it’s unusually large or small, will you require additional scans?
  5. If the blood pressure is too high, do they think it’s the beginning of pre-eclampsia? Will you require more appointments to monitor this?
  6. Report any odd symptoms including headaches, impaired vision (seeing stars), pains, aches, nosebleeds, dizziness, or faintness.
  7. Itching is especially noteworthy since it can indicate obstetric liver cirrhosis, a liver disorder that occurs during pregnancy. Itching of the hands & soles is a common sign of this illness, but any itching should be reported. This can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
  8. If you do have a scan and blood test and it appears that there is an issue that has to be monitored more closely, find out exactly everything there is to know about the disease they are looking at. If you haven’t already been assigned to a consultant, request to meet with whoever specialises in the issues that have been highlighted. Make sure you’re aware of any warning signs or symptoms, as well as what to do if you notice them.
  9. Ask your midwife early on in your pregnancy who you should call if you have other signs or concerns in between checkups. Never put off addressing a troubling symptom until your next checkup. Request an appointment with your doctor, midwife, or hospital.

At any point during your pregnancy after stillbirth:

While certain indications appear at specific dates during the pregnancy, many others can appear at any moment, including:

  • Severe or prolonged vomiting
  • Spotting in your vaginal area
  • A leak from your vaginal area that is uncommon or excessive.
  • Headaches that are severe or persistent
  • Dizziness
  • You’re still losing weight
  • A high fever or chills
  • Urination urgency, pain, or a burning sensation (weeing)
  • Feeling out of breath, dizzy, or weak all of the time, or having a rapid heartbeat
  • You’ve been hit in the belly (such as from a fall, crash or a family violence incident)
  • You’ve been having problems with overall emotional health for more than two weeks, such as getting sad, anxious, or unable to perform routine chores.

Discussing Your Loss: If you have additional children, you’ll have to discuss your loss with them. It’s vital to describe the pregnancy loss in age-appropriate terminology, but whatever method you choose, keep in mind that kids will need to deal with the loss of the sibling that may have strong feelings to process.

If your youngster overhears you whispering or picks up on small snatches of dialogue, they may get uncomfortable and worried. You’ll also want to make absolutely sure that the well-intentioned people in the life respect how and then when you tell your child of your family’s loss.

To avoid recurring interactions that may be stressful or re-traumatizing, send a written message through email and social media to the adults within your life, or have a friend or family pass just on news for you. It’s fine to tell people you’re not ready to talk about it yet.

Also, if you require assistance with meals, babysitting with your other children, errands, or simply a shoulder to weep on, be able to inquire for it and accept offers from friends.

So, what’s next?

When you see a healthcare provider, they may do some tests to verify or maintain your and your baby’s health. These tests may involve the following:

  • A medical examination and inquiry
  • A blood test or an ultrasound

You may also be referred to a different doctor or expert, as well as get emotional assistance.

What can I do to avoid difficulties throughout my pregnancy?

In most cases, it is impossible to avoid complications during pregnancy. If you’re having a health issue before conception or had it during a prior pregnancy, you may well have a higher probability of having one. If you’re a family background of pregnancy problems, you may be at a higher risk.

By attending all of the antenatal checkups, you may be able to reduce the risk of getting a problem or preventing an issue from becoming worse. If a possible health problem is discovered, you may require additional antenatal sessions to monitor your and your baby’s health more closely.

Where can I obtain assistance?

  • If you have any concerns, call your doctor, midwife, or maternity hospital right away.
  • Go to your local hospital or dial triple zero (000) to request an ambulance.
  • Other sources of information
  • To talk with a maternal children’s health nurse, call Pregnancy, Birth & Baby at 1800 882 436.
  • If you’re having problems with your pregnancy or are concerned about any symptoms, go to health directs Differential Diagnoses for Pregnancy.

Whose at risk of having a stillborn baby?

Any family can experience a stillbirth. We don’t always understand why some families are more affected by stillbirth than others. Researchers are attempting to understand more about factors that contribute to stillbirth.

Risk factors are the factors that put you at higher risk for (or make you more likely to develop) a condition than others. Having a stillbirth risk factor does not guarantee that you’ll have a stillbirth. However, being aware of and decreasing your health risks may help you avoid having a stillborn baby. Some risks are unavoidable, such as a previous pregnancy that ended in a stillbirth. Other risk factors, such as smoking cessation, are factors you can control. Talk to your doctor about what you may do to help lower your chances of having a stillbirth. Risk factors for stillbirth, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) and other experts, include:

What are three factors that raise the chances of a stillbirth?

Stillbirth: Early Pregnancy Risk Factors • Being African-American

  • Being diabetic.
  • Having reached the age of 40.
  • Having blood type AB.
  • and Have a history of using illegal drugs and being addicted to them.
  • Smoking cigarettes for three months prior to conception.
  • Obesity or being overweight.
  • You don’t have a partner.

Stillbirths are at an all-time high in the United States.

There are significant disparities in stillbirth rates across different demographics, according to statistics from the CDC (2017). Except when compared to American Indian/Alaskan Native people, the miscarriage rate for Black people is more than double that of other populations. These figures represent the number of live births or stillbirths per 1,000 live births & stillbirths. Take a look at the information below:

  • Black non-Hispanic, 10.32
  • American Indians/Native Alaskans, 7.22
  • 5.01 Hispanics
  • White non-Hispanics, 4.89
  • 4.29 Asian / Pacific Islander

A stillbirth is not caused by the fact that you are a person of race. Racism, on the other hand, has a disproportionate impact on people of colour. Racism and uneven living conditions have an impact on their health and well-being, and they are more likely to experience pregnancy difficulties such as stillbirth as a result.

Racism and its impacts are contributors to health inequities in pregnancy outcomes or infant health, according to the March of Dimes. We will work together to make sure that all mothers and babies have equitable, just, and complete access to health care.


For many people, stillbirth is a traumatic experience. The emotional tension that it can bring is one of the most difficult things. A human may go through the stages in their recovery:

  • Stage 1: Numbness, surprise, confusion, and denial are common symptoms.
  • Stage 2: Searching, wrath, guilt, and yearning are some of the symptoms.
  • Stage 3: Depression, withdrawal, confusion, or low energy are some of the symptoms.
  • Stage 4: Reorganization or resolution is the final stage.

Despite the fact that it might be a challenging process, there are some steps that people can take to assist them. These are some of them:

  • Caressing and holding the infant
  • Preserving a baby memento, including a photograph and footprint
  • Gaining a better understanding of what transpired

A member of the staff at the hospital should be sufficient to convey to the parents their baby wrapped in a blanket so they may spend time with them. This might aid in accepting and providing a physical reminder of their child.

Stillbirth can be averted in some situations, although it is not always practicable. Doctors monitor the developing fetus for early signs of issues as part of prenatal care. When risk factors, such as hypertension, are present, a condition is diagnosed can occasionally take steps to mitigate the risk. This is why it’s so crucial to have prenatal treatment on a regular basis. Counselling with a perinatologist or perhaps an obstetrician who specialises in high-risk gestation should be sought for women who are at an elevated risk of stillbirth.

The greatest parts you can do to avoid stillbirth during an average-risk pregnancy are to take care of her overall health and check for indicators of pregnancy difficulty.

The following are examples of this:

  • Before getting pregnant, try to get it to a healthy weight.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or using recreational drugs while pregnant.
  • Keep an eye on your baby’s kicks and notify your physician if you see anything unusual.
  • Instead of sleeping on your back, try sleeping on your side.
  • Avoid soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk products, and undercooked meats, which can all cause food poisoning.
  • If you have any odd abdominal pain, itchiness, or vaginal bleeding, call your doctor straight away.

Stillbirth can occur without notice in many instances, including cord accidents, abruption, chromosomal abnormalities, and other unexpected difficulties. Because prolonged pregnancies are thought to be responsible for 14% of stillbirths, proper management of delayed pregnancy is critical.

What can I do to enhance my chances of having a stillborn baby?

A variety of factors can raise your chances of having a stillbirth, including:

  1. Smoking.
  2. Diabetes.
  3. Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  4. Obesity or being overweight.
  5. Having used to have a stillbirth in the past.
  6. Being past the age of 35.
  7. Being pregnant for more than 41 weeks.

How to prevent stillbirth:

  • Attend all of your prenatal checkups.
  • Eat well and stay active.
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid consuming alcohol when pregnant.
  • Lie on your side if possible.
  • Inform your midwife if you’ve been taking any medications.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • Make sure you wash your hands.
  • Safely prepare and preserve food
  • Some foods should be avoided during pregnancy.

Where to look for help:

A stillbirth is a distressing experience that can have a substantial influence on a person’s health and well-being. In the coming weeks and months, it may be beneficial to seek assistance.

The American Institute for Health and Care recommends joining a peers support group or seeking counselling from a professional therapist or bereavement counsellor to cope with the grief and despair that might follow a stillbirth.

Here are some resources for bereavement support:

  • The Caring Companions
  • Support for Pregnancy & Infant Loss
  • Stillbirth Alliance International
  • Lighting the First Candle
  • Star Legacy Foundation (


When a baby dies before or during delivery, it is known as a stillbirth. Using a stethoscope or an ultrasound scan, doctors can usually detect miscarriage if the baby’s heart stops beating. People who have had a stillbirth are more likely to have another one. Despite the higher risk, families might take heart in the fact that the majority of women who fall pregnant after a stillbirth get a healthy baby. Many funds are provided to those who have had a stillbirth that can provide support and assist them in navigating the grief which comes with such a horrific tragedy.