Today’s episode is about stillbirth. This is a difficult topic but I’ve actually had several people reach out to me about it. I see stillbirths maybe a handful of times a year, so it’s not extremely common, but common enough that it’s important to talk about.
Stillbirth rates have been decreasing over recent decades. This is surely due in part to advances in medical care, however prenatal care only accounts for a fraction of the causes of stillbirth. In fact, over a quarter of stillbirths are unexplained. The factors that we can pinpoint are not necessarily straight-forward. Of course age and overall health going into pregnancy are important determinants, but one of the biggest factors is actually being black. Episode 117 on Maternal Morbidity and Mortality goes into some of the statistics on the dangers of being black and giving birth in the American medical system.
There are some trends we can look at, such as when in pregnancy a stillbirth is most likely to occur or which medical conditions can contribute, but ultimately there is no reliable way to predict stillbirth and proper prenatal care plus identifying and treating any conditions promptly is the best we can do. Not all stillbirths can be prevented but there are a lot of common sense measures moms can take.
In this Episode, You’ll Learn About: