So, you’re pregnant ~ or not ~ and you have heard about stillbirths but you have also heard the possibility of you or anyone you know actually delivering a baby born still is one in a million or extremely unlikely - RIGHT??? Well, the correct answer to the above statement is actually - WRONG.
A stillbirth occurs once in every 200 births in the USA. There are 30,000 every year in our country according to Dr. Jason Collins, MD of The Pregnancy Institute in New Roads, LA. This equates to about 85 each and every day in our highly medically and extremely technically advanced hospitals and country. Maybe you have seen articles, posts or blogs on stillbirth and quickly flipped the page, clicked to the next entry or exited the post. Maybe you read the information in front of you thinking, "This will never happen to me" and you let the information leave your mind as fast as you let it enter. Well, the time has come for us all ~ parents to be, family & friends, as well as, the medical community - to embrace the information in front of us and demand the resources to extinguish the flame of stillbirth be available to us all.
According to The Lancet's series, STILLBIRTHS, at least 50% of our world’s almost 3 million stillbirths are completely preventable. The statistics used in The Lancet consider a stillborn baby, "the death of a baby at 28 weeks’ gestation or more." What does that mean to us? It means simple interventions may save the life of a precious baby ~ if you are told what to do and what to look out for. At The Star Legacy Foundation we call it empowering and educating parents to be and their health care team.
Dr. Ruth Fretts, OB-GYN and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, believes the risk of stillbirth increases late in pregnancy and many could be prevented. "We don't do a very good service to women by not informing them of the risks and giving them options to be evaluating the baby's well being". In the 2010 October/ November Issue, of Fit Pregnancy Magazine, the article “the whole 9 months” section, “Baby likes to move it”, Fretts states, “Most women who notice a decrease in movement will still have a healthy outcome…The biggest concern is when it happens repeatedly.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist in the United Kingdom, whose stillbirth rates are one of the most dire for a country which is not considered to be one of the 98% low or middle income countries with abysmally high stillbirth rates, just issued a statement on reduced feta movement, "Clinicians should be aware (and should advise women) that although fetal movements tend to plateau at 32 weeks of gestation, there is no reduction in the frequency of fetal movements in the late third trimester."
Dr. Craig Rubens, MD PhD, Co-Founder & Executive Director GAPP states, "Why focus on the last 1/2% of pregnancy during Labor and Deliver to understand why women have adverse outcomes during pregnancy. We need to focus on and study more the 99.5% of pregnancy that's going on currently."
So, what can we do? Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support kick counting ~ it is rarely mentioned or explained to pregnant women in the office or during prenatal classes. Don’t take it for granted everyone caring for you and delivering your baby is aware of kick counting and the important role it can play in assuring a happy, healthy and hearty delivery day. Make it your passion to educate all young men and women, moms and dads to be, their doctors, midwives and health care team to the importance of baby's movements from 20 weeks onwards and the importance of daily kick counting from 28 weeks onwards. Visit See Me, Feel Me now. Educate and empower yourself not only on the importance of baby's movements but also on the importance of a 20 & 28 week ultrasound with special attention being paid to the umbilical cord and placenta. Then, pass this vital information on to all so they can become baby's "in utero" advocate as well.
Don't wait until the tragedy of stillbirth strikes ~ and you think to yourself, "Oh yeah, I heard about that somewhere.” Don’t take it for granted your doctor, midwife or health care team is educated to the frequency of stillbirth and the ways to ascertain and address a possibly compromised baby. Write down the link or print out The Lancet series, Stillbirths and your My Kicks Count chart and take them to your appointment!!!
Now you have been told. Now you have the tools. Now spread the word and empower moms, dads, friends, family and the medical community across the globe. Remember ~ a sweet little baby's life will be depending on you...