Stillbirth is the loss of a baby from pregnancy even after the pregnancy has completed its full term. Because a stillbirth is a loss of a pregnancy, it is considered a form of preterm birth.
Stillbirth can occur in a single pregnancy or multiple pregnancies. Stillbirth can also occur in early pregnancy, during the second or third trimester. Stillbirth can also occur after a miscarriage.
- In most cases, the pregnancy is lost before it is completed.
- In some cases, the pregnancy is lost between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- In rare cases, the pregnancy may be lost after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- In some cases, the pregnancy may be lost after the 20th week of pregnancy.
- In some cases, the pregnancy may be lost between 26 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Stillbirth is often an extreme event in pregnancy. It is often linked to medical complications related to the pregnancy.
Stillbirth can be a traumatic event for both the mother and the baby.
What Causes Stillbirth?
The cause of stillbirth is unknown. Stillbirth is a natural phenomenon. Stillbirth does not occur due to an act of God.
Although stillbirth can be due to medical complications that occur during pregnancy, stillbirth is not considered a medical emergency.
Stillbirth is a normal and natural process that occurs during pregnancy. However, there are some medical conditions that can cause stillbirth.
Many of the medical conditions that can cause stillbirth are genetic. A genetic condition, such as Down syndrome or trisomy 18, can increase the risk of stillbirth.
Other medical conditions that can cause stillbirth are:
- Severe preeclampsia
- Placental abruption
- Placenta previa
- Preterm labor
- Preterm prelabor rupture of membranes
- Maternal age
- Multiple pregnancy
- Maternal diabetes
- Maternal smoking
- Maternal obesity
- Maternal drug use
- Maternal alcohol use
- Infection before pregnancy
- Pregnancy with multiple fetuses
- Rhesus (Rh) incompatibility
- Maternal age over 45 years old
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
Stillbirth is a major cause of infant mortality. The risk of stillbirth is also linked to:
- Prior stillbirth
- A previous pregnancy
- A previous baby
- A previous pregnancy at a low-income setting
- Maternal age over 35
- Prior pregnancy loss
What Are the Complications of Stillbirth?
The complications of stillbirth can be many and varied. Stillbirth can affect a mother’s health, including her physical health, emotional health, and mental health.
If the pregnancy is stillborn, it can be traumatic and difficult to accept. Because the baby’s body has not been born, the baby does not have a life of its own. The baby does not have a chance to grow and develop in the womb.
The mother may experience physical and emotional symptoms following the loss of the baby, including:
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Lack of appetite
- Body aches
- Back pain
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Memory loss
The baby may also experience physical and emotional symptoms that are similar to the mother’s symptoms. The baby may experience:
- Delayed development
- Difficulty feeding
- Changes in breathing
- Irregular breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Lack of weight gain
- Difficulty gaining muscle tone
- Difficulty moving
- Difficulty moving the arms or legs
- Difficulty moving the head
- Changes in reflexes
- Delayed reflexes
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty moving the legs
- Joint pain
- Numbness in the hands or feet
- Sensory loss
- Speech delay
- Learning disabilities
- Delayed physical development
- Developmental delays
- Abnormal development of the brain
- Abnormality of the spine
- Abnormality of the ears
Is Stillbirth a Disability?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
The ADA does not specifically mention stillbirth.
Stillbirth is considered a form of disability by the ADA. An individual with a disability may be eligible for protection under the ADA.
A disability can be defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
Major life activities include, but are not limited to:
Can Stillbirth Be Prevented?
There are some steps that can be taken to prevent stillbirth.
Prenatal care should be provided to all pregnant individuals. Prenatal care provides information to the mother and the health care team about the mother’s medical history, current health, and possible future health problems.
Prenatal care also provides information about the mother’s family history, her current medications, and her current lifestyle. Prenatal care also provides information about the unborn baby.
Prenatal care can help to reduce the risk of stillbirth and other complications during pregnancy.
Treatment for any existing medical conditions should be continued during pregnancy.
Women who smoke during pregnancy should stop. Smoking during pregnancy is a risk factor for stillbirth.
Treatment of any existing medical conditions during pregnancy can also help to reduce the risk of stillbirth.
Maternal age is a risk factor for still birth. The older a mother is, the more likely she is to have a stillbirth.
Mothers who are obese are at an increased risk of stillbirth. Obese women are more likely to have gestational diabetes. Women who are obese are also more likely to have preeclampsia.
The risk of stillbirth can also increase if a mother has a history of stillbirth.
Stillbirth is a form of pregnancy loss. It can be a traumatic event for both the mother and the baby.
Even though stillbirth is not a medical emergency, it is a natural and normal process that occurs during pregnancy.
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