It is a uncurable loss and overwhelming grief for parent when hearing news that their baby has died in the womb. Losing a baby is one of the most painful experiences that no parents expect. Fortunately, what called “Stillbirth” is now able to be diagnosed and prevented. Help is available for moms-to-be, their partners and family.
Stillbirth is known as fetal dies after 20 weeks of pregnancy and occurs commonly before labor begins. In case of possible stillbirth, the pregnant woman may suspect that something is wrong if the fetus suddenly stops moving around and kicking. A small number of stillbirths occur during labor and delivery.
Fetal death can be diagnosed by an ultrasound examination that listen to fetal heart beating and showing the reason why the fetus died. Stillbirth is caused by one or more of pregnancy problems. The commons are:
- placental abruption: as the placenta peels away, partly to almost completely, from the uterine wall before delivery resulting in heavy bleeding that can threaten the life of mother and baby. Sometimes it can cause the fetus to die from lack of oxygen. Smoking and using cocaine can increase this risk for pregnant women.
- genital and urinary tract infections and certain viruses: infected moms might easily see their fetal died in the womb. More dangerouly, some infections may cause no symptoms in the pregnant woman so that sometimes stillbirth is discovered too late.
- high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and thrombophilias (blood clotting disorders): these chronic health conditions in the mothers can be one of the riskiest factor causing stillbirth because the fetal will not grow in a good condition.
- Umbilical cord accidents: Accidents involving the umbilical cord such as a knot in the cord or abnormal placement of the cord into the placenta can also cause fetal die due to lack of oxygen before delivery.
Researchers warn that higher risk of stillbirth links to getting pregnancy over 35, suffering from obesity or having African-American ancestry, etc.
Nowadays, stillbirth prevention is more available and helpful by proper treatment of health condition in the mother to decrease the risk factors such as well-controlled diabetes and high blood pressure, regular tests to checking up fetus health.
At 28 weeks of pregnancy, mother can do a daily “kick count” to record how long it takes her fetus to make ten movements. Fewer than ten kicks within two hours can predict a problem and she must have contact with health care provider as soon as possible for tests, such as fetal heart rate monitoring and ultrasound.
It is truly that a couple facing loss of their baby may suffering from an blank of their soul. It is not a material loss but a spiritual shock that can not be eased in a short time. Currently, many couples choose a relief to join a support group for parents who have experienced pregnancy loss. In such a group, they can share their feelings with others who truly understand what they are going through. This often helps them feel less alone and gradually helps them cope with their grief.