Stillbirth and Pregnancy Complications

Too Young to Feel this Old.
Creative Commons License photo credit: gogoloopie

Because of better prenatal care and advancements in medicine over the past couple of centuries, stillbirth isn’t nearly as commonplace as it used to be. Yet, there are still many families who experience the loss associated with stillbirth. On the day that should be one of the most special days in a parent’s life, grief overtakes everything.

About one in every 160 pregnancies in the United States ends in stillbirth each year.

About half of stillbirths come as a result of complications during pregnancy. Preterm labor, for example, is a major factor for stillbirth. Placental problems are another common cause for stillbirth.

There are a number of other factors, however, that aren’t related to complications with pregnancy that can contribute to a risk for stillbirth. Some of these include:

  • Weight
  • Blood sugar levels or diabetes
  • Cigarette smoking

Interestingly enough, according to a recent study, these factors have a much smaller effect on the risk of stillbirth, however.

More study is required

Experts are really just starting to get a handle on what causes stillibirth on a large scale. The recent data looked at 512 stillbirths. Of those, 312 cases had a probable cause of death. That means around 40% of stillbirths in the study had no probable cause.

Here’s a look at the probable causes of stillbirth in the study:

  • Pregnancy-related or birth-related complications were to blame for almost 30 percent of all of the stillbirths. This category includes things like premature labor or a premature membrane rupture.
  • Placental abnormalities accounted for 24 percent of stillbirths.
  • Birth defects or genetic issues caused 14 percent of stillbirths.
  • Infection was to blame for 13 percent.
  • Umbilical cord problems accounted for 10 percent of stillbirths.
  • High blood pressure for the mother were responsible for 9 percent.
  • Another 8 percent of stillbirths were caused by other maternal medical issues.

Have you ever had to experience the tragedy of a stillbirth? In your case, were doctors able to identify a cause? What kinds of coping tactics did you use to recover from the tragedy?

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