There is no sure way to prevent stillbirth because in most cases, it is an unexpected event. However, avoiding the risk factors and taking necessary care can help in the prevention of stillbirth before it is too late.
Last Updated: 22 October 2020
Stillbirth is the death of the unborn baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can happen either during pregnancy or during labor and delivery. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 1 out of 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Unbelievably, the causes of about one quarter of the stillbirth cases remain unknown.
While it may not be possible to predict stillbirth in advance, it can be helpful to understand stillbirth symptoms and risk factors in order to be safe from a probable stillbirth.Nurturing your health before pregnancy
Remember, pregnancy starts even before conception. Your pre-pregnancy health determines the quality of the ovum that is released for conception of the baby. Any deficiency or health risks during this period can result in stillbirth in the future.
Obesity before becoming pregnant poses health risks to the growing fetus during pregnancy. Reducing weight by healthy dieting and work-outs is recommended for a healthy conception and pregnancy.
Pre-pregnancy diabetes is dangerous to the overall health of the growing baby. Maintaining your blood sugar levels within the normal range is important when you plan to become pregnant. It can aid in conception, prevent gestational diabetes and contribute to the prevention of stillbirth.
Keep safe from infections before getting pregnant. If infections are left untreated, it can take atoll on the baby’s life during pregnancy, causing stillbirth.Avoiding unhealthy lifestyle factors before and during pregnancy
Drinking alcohol, smoking and taking illegal drugs not only affect the normal growth and development of the fetus but also can contribute to stillbirth. It is best to avoid such unhealthy habits when you are planning to conceive.Avoiding sleeping on the back during pregnancy
Sleeping on the back exerts your added pregnancy weight on the vital blood vessels of the body and those which carry blood to the placenta. As a result, the amount of blood that flows to the placenta is restricted while sleeping on the back.
According to research studies, pregnant women who slept on their backs in the third semester had stillbirth than those who did not. Sleeping on the back is not the cause of stillbirth in babies, but the chances for stillbirth increases for pregnant women who already carry risks of stillbirth when they routinely sleep on their backs.
Sleeping on the side is considered the best sleeping position during pregnancy because it promotes the overall circulation of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.Being regular to prenatal visits
Prenatal visits are the routine pregnancy health checks done by your OB. During your regular health check, your OB will:
· monitor critical health parameters like weight gain and blood pressure,
· advice for blood tests and urine tests to detect pregnancy complications including chromosomal abnormalities, infections or gestational diabetes,
· examine your baby’s development and heart rate through ultrasounds, and
· prescribe prenatal supplements or medications for specific conditions.
It is important not to skip your prenatal visits because it is when your doctor can find health risks which may lead to stillbirth.Immediate reporting of any abnormal changes during pregnancy to your doctor
Stillbirth can sometimes be prevented if early warning signs are observed and reported to a doctor immediately for timely medical help.Changes in baby movements in the womb
No baby movements for a few hours or reduced number of movements during pregnancy is the first sign that your baby is unwell. Reduced baby activity is most often a sign of fetal distress which is one of the primary causes of stillbirths.Premature water breaking
If you suspect water breaking prematurely, way before your due date, there is no reason to wait. The longer you wait, the higher are the chances for stillbirth.Abnormal vaginal discharge
Any vaginal discharge which doesn’t seem normal to you should be reported to the doctor. Blood or greenish tinges in the discharge are certainly not normal and needs to be examined at the earliest.Practicing prenatal yoga or other relaxation techniques during pregnancy
While prevention of stillbirth is not 100% possible, you can nourish your emotional and physical well-being during pregnancy by practicing a relaxation technique like prenatal yoga. It can help you relax and relieve stress which can to a certain extent prevent stillbirth.