Understanding Stillbirths

a4c4c402e1f8641a43b2703b404f95b1When conceiving mothers receive the heart breaking news about their baby found dead in the womb, they get overwhelmed by grief. The can go from a happy anticipation of their child`s birth to a very painful moment of their death.

If the death of the fetus occurs after the 20 weeks of pregnancy, then that is what is referred to as stillbirth. According to biology articles, many stillbirths occur before child labor while others are experienced during labor and delivery.

Causes of Stillbirths

Scientific research proves that there are known causes of the condition. The common causes are-:

  1. Infections

Infections involving the expectant person, placenta of fetus result to 10-25% of stillbirths. They cause fetal death before the 28th week of pregnancy. They include viruses (parvovirus infection), urinary tract, and genital infection.

  1. Accidents in the Umbilical Cord

Research shows that umbilical cord accidents cause 3-5% of stillbirths. If the cord is abnormally placed in the placenta or a knot is present in the cord, then it leads to the death of the fetus since it is deprived of oxygen.

  1. Birth Defects

Research shows that 15-20% of stillbirths have one or more birth deficiencies.  Some are caused by chromosomal disorders like, Down syndrome while others result from environmental, genetic as well as unknown sources.

  1. Placental Problems

They cause 25% of stillborn babies. Placental abruption is a common cause of the condition. In this case, the placenta peels away from the uterine wall before the baby is born.  This can result to heavy bleeding and can threaten the life of the mother as well.

  1. Poor Growth of the Fetus

Slow fetus growth increases the risk of stillbirths. Women with high blood pressure or cigarette smokers experience slow fetal growth. Ultrasound is important in this situation as it shows how poorly the fetus is growing and enables one to carefully monitor it.

Prevention Measures

  • Avoid alcohol, smoking or buying street drugs. Any prescriptions should be authorized by your doctor.
  • Report sharp pain, vaginal bleeding and leakage.
  • If you happen to have experienced a previous stillbirth, then close monitoring should be done during the pregnancy.
  • Monitor the activity of your baby around 28 weeks for high risk pregnancies.
  • If you are past your date of delivering, then consider discussing that with your doctor. Pregnancies longer than 42 weeks may at risk for experiencing still births.
  • Always request opinions during the pregnancy to ensure that your mind is at ease.


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