Posted by Chantel Martiromo, Article By Kyle J. Norton
Still birth is defined as the death of fetus in the
uterus after 20 weeks of pregnancy or the fetus weighs more than 400
grams (14 oz) before it was born. Most stillbirths occur in full term
pregnancies and 1 in 200. Global estimates suggest that at least 3.2
million stillbirths occur annually, with 98% of these occurring in the
Causes and risk factors
The causes of stillbirth are unknown, but researchers suggested the following incidences
bacteria can increase the risk of pregnancy loss as it causes direct
infection, placental damage, and severe maternal illness such as
protozoa. Statistic showed that between 10% and 25% of stillbirths may
be caused by an infection in developed countries.
2. Pulmonary hypoplasia
a study of Association between Pulmonary Hypoplasia and Hypoplasia of
Arcuate Nucleus in Stillbirth, researcher found that about a third of
stillbirths there is a congenital hypodevelopment of both lung and
curate nucleus. In these cases the ARCn hypoplasia would exert a
negative effect on respiratory movements in utero and therefore on lung
development. When the pulmonary hypoplasia is not accompanied by
hypodevelopment of this nucleus the explanation could be a failure to
block the inhibitory action of the Kölliker–Fuse nucleus.
3. Chromosomal aberrations
a result of disruptions in the normal chromosomal content of a cell,
and are a major cause of genetic conditions in the fetus.
4. Growth retardation
a study of Growth retardation and risk of stillbirth in subsequent
pregnancy, researchers found that a small-for-gestational age (SGA) live
birth in first pregnancy increases the risk of subsequent stillbirth,
especially when the birth is preterm. Compared with women with a
previous non-SGA term birth, a history of a previous term SGA birth
doubled the stillbirth risk in second pregnancy, whereas a previous
moderately preterm SGA birth or a very preterm SGA birth were associated
with a fourfold and over six-fold increase in risk, respectively.
5. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy
Cholestasis of Pregnancy is defined as a liver condition in which the
normal flow of bile is impaired, leading to rising of bile acids in the
blood, causing severe itching to the mother and a risk for stillbirth.
6. Maternal diabetes
with preexisting diabetes are more likely to have complications in
pregnancy than gestational diabetics as the results of damaged kidneys
or retinas, rising in maternal blood pressure, leading to increased risk
of stillbirth in some women.
7. High blood pressure,
blood pressure are at increased risk of having a baby that grows too
slowly. An ultrasound examination during pregnancy can show that the
fetus is growing poorly, allowing health care providers to carefully
monitor the pregnancy
The use of drugs during
pregnancy increases the risk of still birth and birth defects as a
result of a nerve and or cell damage to the fetus.
9. Postdate pregnancy
a study of Influence of parity on fetal mortality in prolonged
pregnancy, Engelhard IM, van den Hout MA, Schouten EG found that Before
41 weeks the stillbirth risk rose gradually but did not differ by
parity. By 41 weeks there was a substantial increase in the stillbirth
risk in nulliparous women but not in parous women. The pattern of rise
is such that the stillbirth risk is 2.9 times higher (95% CI 1.06-8.19)
in nulliparous women at >42 weeks' gestation.
10. Placental abruptions
separation of placenta from the uterine wall before delivery, leading
to heavy bleeding that can threaten the life of mother and cause the
death of fetus in the uterus due to lack of oxygen.
a study of Is race a determinant of stillbirth recurrence? Sharma PP,
Salihu HM, Oyelese Y, Ananth CV, Kirby RS found that history of
stillbirth is associated with a 5-fold increase for subsequent
stillbirth. The recurrence of stillbirth is almost tripled in African
Americans as compared with whites.
12. Radiation exposure
study of Stillbirth and neonatal death in relation to radiation
exposure before conception: a retrospective cohort study. Our findings
do not support concern about heritable genetic changes affecting the
risk of stillbirth and neonatal death in the offspring of men exposed to
gonadal irradiation. However, uterine and ovarian irradiation had
serious adverse effects on the offspring that were probably related to
uterine damage. Careful management is warranted of pregnancies in women
given high doses of pelvic irradiation before puberty.
13. Rh disease
is big concern until the discover of medicine which developed blood
product that can prevent an Rh negative mother's antibodies from being
able to react to Rh positive cells.
14. Umbilical cord accidents
is a disruption the blood flow to the baby through the cord as a
result of an entangled umbilical cord cutting off the blood supply to
the fetus or medical cause of cord failure.
15. Chronic diseases
Chronic diseases, such as statistic showed that About 10 percent of stillbirths are chronic related conditions in the mother.
a study of Influence of maternal smoking habits on the risk of
subsequent stillbirth: Is there a causal relation? Hogberg L,
Cnattingius, S. found that maternal smoking during pregnancy is causally
associated with stillbirth risk. Smoking is a preventable cause of
stillbirth, and smoking interventions is an important issue in antenatal
17. Age related
In a study of Higher rate of
stillbirth at the extremes of reproductive age: A large nationwide
sample of deliveries in the United States, Bateman BT, Simpson LL.
found that The extremes of maternal age are associated with an
increased risk for stillbirth, even after adjustment for a large number
of known predisposing conditions.
18. Smokeless tobacco
study of Smokeless tobacco use and risk of stillbirth: A cohort study
in Mumbai, India. Gupta PC, Subramoney S. found that Smokeless tobacco
use during pregnancy increases stillbirth risk, with a risk at least as
great as that associated with maternal cigarette smoking.
Symptoms of stillbirth
1. Vaginal bleeding
If you have vagina bleeding especially during the second half of pregnancy, it may be a sign of something wring with your baby.
2. Lack of fetal movement of the fetus or
3. A change in the normal movement or activity level of your baby.
4. Persistent Cramping and/or contractions that come regularly and get more intense in the pelvis, back, or lower abdomen.
5. Lack of growing of uterus may be signal something wrong with your baby
6. Undetectable heart beat during routine exam is a concern.
A. What to avoid
1. Avoid infection by bacteria
Please take pre-cautious to avoid infected during pregnancy will reduce the risk of stillbirth.
2. Quit smoking
there are some conflicted study linking of smoking to stillbirth,
Hogberg L, Cnattingius, S. found that maternal smoking during pregnancy
is causally associated with stillbirth risk.
3. Avoid alcohol
a study of Katrine Strandberg-Larsen, of the University of South
Denmark, in Copenhagen, and colleague, researchers found that women who
continue to drink alcohol heavily during pregnant or consumption of
five or more alcoholic drinks on any one occasion may increase the risk
of stillbirth (fetal death).
4. Smokeless tobacco
Since it is a cause of stillbirth, quit smokeless tobacco is highly recommended.
5. Radiation exposure
exposure to certain chemicals in the work place may be harmful to your baby's health.
Drugs can damage nerves and/or cells of the fetus, causing higher risk of stillbirth.
7. Avoid not sleep on your left side
In a report published in the June 14 online edition of the BMJ, researchers found that women who didn't sleep on their left side had twice the risk of having a stillborn infant.
8. Avoid taking vitamin E
a study, researchers found that showed vitamin E supplements may
double the risk of a stillbirth, experts have warned, however, other
study indicated that taking vitamin E, particularly taken with vitamin
C, can help protect against miscarriage and pre-eclampsia.
B. Testing to avoid stillbirth
a. Novel Placenta Screening Tests
of novel screening methods have generally failed to distinguish
between effective identification of high-risk women and successful
intervention for such women, but in a study of Novel
Placenta Screening Tests May Help Prevent Stillbirths, according to a
seminar in The Lancet, weekly edition, the authors argue that better
understanding of the science behind placental function, or lack of good
function, may lead to the development of new screening tests. Women who
are apparently low-risk could be screened and those at risk of
stillbirth would then be better identified.
b. Measured placental volume
study of Measurements in Early Pregnancy as Predictors of Adverse
Pregnancy Outcomes, researchers found that in addition to volume,
3-dimensional sonography allows for novel techniques to measure other
aspects of gross placental morphologic characteristics and CI, which can
yield promising biologically plausible early predictors of fetal
growth and adverse perinatal outcome.
allows your doctor to visualize the fetus and to assess the size,
organs, heart, body tissue, the date of birth and may be nay abnormality
of the baby.
d. Alpha-fetoprotein blood test
It is blood
test to check the level of AFP, a substance made in the liver of an
unborn baby in a pregnant woman. if the test is positive, your baby is
at higher risk of spina bifida and anencephaly, chromosomal
aberrations, such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21) or Edwards syndrome
(trisomy 18), etc. resulting in some cases in stillbirth.
e. Electronic fetal nonstress test
is the test to measure heart rate of the baby for approximate 30
minutes, if you found that the baby movement is not as frequently as
usual or you doctor suspected that the placenta is not functioning
f. Fetal movement monitoring
The test is to
measure fetal movements to assess the health of the baby in the womb
with aim to detect the problem early for necessary treatment if you
found that your baby movement is not as normal
g. Doppler monitoring
is also known as Doppler fetal heart rate monitor, a hand-held
ultrasound transducer used to detect the heart beat of a fetus for
C. Nutritional supplements
1. Folic acid, Protein energy and Micronutrient supplements
effect of folic acid, protein energy and multiple micro-nutrient
supplements in pregnancy on stillbirths, researchers conclude that
Peri-conceptional folic acid supplementation reduces stillbirths due to
NTDs by approximately 41%, a point estimate recommended for inclusion
in Live Saved Tool (LiST).
2. Balanced energy protein supplementation
a study of Stillbirths: epidemiology, evidence, and priorities for
action, researchers found that Balanced energy protein supplementation
is an important nutritional intervention to prevent stillbirths in
undernourished women, especially in LMICs. one of more proof that
nutritional deficiency may be one of the cause of stillbirth.
a study, Adana Provincial Health Director Sandra said bonding, Iodine
deficiency during pregnancy also increases the likelihood of
4. Vitamin C
In study, researchers found that
people who eat foods rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C have a
lower risk of high blood pressure than people who have poorer diets.
5. Vitamin C and E
a study, researcher found that taking vitamin E, particularly taken
with vitamin C, can help protect against miscarriage and pre-eclampsia.
6. Folic acid and vitamin D
The Department of Health advises women take only vitamin D and folic acid during pregnancy.
pregnancy, a woman's body needs much more iron than usual to produce
blood, oxygen and nutrition for herself and the baby.
1. Avoid high fat diet
fat diet decreases the blood flow to placenta, leading to increased
risk of he placenta cause of stillbirth. Dr. Antonio Frias, principal
investigator and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the
OHSU School of Medicine, says a typical American diet, high in fat,
decreases blood flow from the mother to the placenta, the temporary
organ that nourishes the fetus.
2. Quit drinking
In a study of
Katrine Strandberg-Larsen, of the University of South Denmark, in
Copenhagen, and colleague, researchers found that women who continue to
drink alcohol heavily during pregnant or consumption of five or more
alcoholic drinks on any one occasion may increase the risk of stillbirth
3. A balancing diet
a. Whole grain and fruits and vegetables
Whole grain and fruits and vegetables contain high a mount of nutritional supplements which are vital for the baby growth.
a study of Maternal Dietary Protein Deficiency Decreases Amino Acid
Concentrations in Fetal Plasma and Allantoic Fluid of Pigc. Fruit and
vegetable, researchers found that Decreases in concentrations of the
essential and nonessential amino acids in the fetus may be a mechanism
whereby maternal dietary protein restriction results in fetal growth
For healthy foods diet you are directed to my previous 100+ healthy food list for in-depth information
Milk contain high amount of calcium which is necessary for the growth and development of the fetus.
feel very sick with tear in my eye and want to stop. It seems that a
stillborn baby is just in front of me. For the mothers and fathers who
have gone through this, my heart with you and hope you will get through a
grief process OK.
What I don't want to present
Follow up therapyMen and women tend to utilize different coping strategies when it comes to stress and grief,
after the death of their baby is one of the hardest things they'll
ever do. Most couple feel like they will never get over it, but with
time, they will learn.
There are many suggestions, but understand
that was not you fault is most important as you have done your best. In
fact, some stillbirth are caused by congenital defects and coincidence
out of your control.
In study of The effects of social support on
maternal anxiety and depression after stillbirth, researchers found
that Congruent with the family stress and coping theory, mothers of
stillborn babies who perceived family support in the period after
stillbirth experienced levels of anxiety and depression that were
notably lower than those of their counterparts. Nurses, physicians and
support groups also were important sources of support after a
stillbirth; however, these sources of support alone were not
statistically significant in reducing anxiety and depression in
grieving mothers. Community interventions should focus on the grieving
mother and her family system, including her partner and surviving
I can't write any further, I will quote a source instead
1. Choose carefully whom you share with. Do not go to those for comfort who you know will not be able to give it to you.
If you are not ready to go to baby showers or to visit new babies,
don’t. Tell them the truth if you think they can handle it. If you don’t
think they can handle it tell them you have the flu.
straight forward with friends or family members whose style of consoling
does not work for you. Thank them and tell them that it is too hard
for you to hear what they have to say.
4. Remember that you and
your partner will probably have different styles of grieving. Men, in
general, are often more action oriented, while women tend to take more
time to talk about their feelings. The two of you will work through your
grief at a different pace. Be patient with each other.
5. Try to find sources of support other than your partner. The two of you may not always be emotionally available to each other.
6. Take extra good care of your body. Eat well, get plenty of rest and get exercise that is appropriate to your physical state.
7. Take time together with your partner. Make a point to schedule dates or outings.
8. Try to avoid making major decisions during your intense grieving time. Your mind is too clouded.
Keeping a box of mementos of your baby or your pregnancy can be very
helpful in your healing process. Most parents find it comforting to keep
photos, hospital records, ultrasound pictures
and other memories.
10. Consider attending a support group. Sharing with and hearing from other couples who miscarried can make a big difference.
Seek professional counseling if your despair significantly affects
your daily coping. Grief is hard work and can be exhausting. Just be
patient and good to yourself and healing will occur in time.
Your healing will not mean that you will forget. How could you? Healing means that you will incorporate this experience into your life and who you are. (Source)
Pregnancy after stillbirth
you decide to try again to have another baby, please make sure that
you are really ready, but I can assure you that the rate of 2
consecutive of stillbirth or miscarriage are very low 1/40000. You and
partner must consider the emotional and your physical readiness to cope
with the stress of a subsequent pregnancy with a support team in
place, in case, you need help or counseling.
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