HEART-BREAKING!! - This is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of a 'Stillbirth'. Even hearing about it is extremely saddening, let alone going through one.
Pregnancy would bring you joy, excitement, many positive emotions and feelings you cannot even begin to describe, but most of all it brings "hope" to you. You would make plans upon plans in preparation for the new baby, but all these feelings and preparations come crashing down once Stillbirth occurs. We cannot begin to fathom the kind of pain and suffering one would go through due to a Stillbirth, the emotion would be even more intensified for those expecting for the first-time.
Here, we are going to explain to you, the causes of a stillbirth and also how to prevent it from happening(again):
Causes Of Stillbirth:
There might not always be an obvious explanation for a stillbirth to occur, they might even occur with healthy babies without an obvious cause, as there are about 28% stillbirth causes that haven't been explained yet.
Here are some of the causes for stillbirth:
Infections are never a good thing when pregnancy is concerned. They invade and change the census of our body. Therefore, you need to be extra careful with infections. Even in infections, there are different types based on their disruption within a body. Some, along with their functions are mentioned below:
- Cytomegalovirus: A very common virus which infects the fetus in the utero or by infecting the placenta, causing serious congenital defects as well as stillbirths.
- Fifth disease: Babies in the womb rarely get infected by the fifth disease caused by a virus called human parvovirus B19. This causes an inflammation of heart and bone marrow damage, stopping the production of red blood cells leading to anaemia. In severe cases, it would lead to fetal death.
- Genital tract infections: Getting infected with a sexually transmitted infection like HIV/AIDS (6) and syphilis can lead to stillbirth.
- Listeriosis: This is due to food poisoning caused by a bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes.
Due To Pregnancy:
- If your pregnancy is prolonged beyond 41 weeks of pregnancy.
- Birth defects in the baby: particularly chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.
- Umbilical cord accidents such as a knot in the cord, a prolapsed cord, or if the cord is tightly coiled around the baby's neck for around 10% of stillbirths.
Note: Many babies have their umbilical cord around their necks, but very loose, which is fine.
- When the placenta separates prematurely from the uterine wall, it causes placental abruption. If the separation is 50% or more, it often causes stillbirth.
- Restriction of the fetal growth.
- There might be an insufficient supply of oxygen to the fetus during labour and birth.
- When the mother is diagnosed Rh negative and the baby is Rh positive. The Rh antibodies developed by the mother attack the red blood cells of the fetus causing severe anaemia and eventually hydrops fetalis, which increases the risk of stillbirth.
The above-mentioned points are the causes of a stillbirth, now in order to prevent stillbirths from happening(again), the following can be tried:
- Follow a healthier lifestyle and maintain a balanced diet.
- While planning for pregnancy, increase the intake of folic acid as it reduces the chances of birth defects.
- Stay alert/aware of your baby's movements and report any concern you have immediately.
- Attend all your antenatal appointments so that you can monitor the growth and wellbeing of your baby.
- Get an early pregnancy ultrasound.
- Have a screen/scan in order to detect to check if there are any abnormalities.
- Manage hypertension and diabetes before and during pregnancy.
- In case of any abnormalities, have a planned c-section by planning well with your doctor.
- If you are past your due date by a lot, it ideal to induce labour.
- Be careful, and avoid any everyday accidents like falling.
Any mom would be heartbroken after the loss of a baby, especially for a mom who even lost the opportunity to feel the breath of her baby. Such moms would be inconsolable, we hope you can pass through this period of time and find peace. We hope you would have a successful period of pregnancy next time, and we wish you all the best.