A stillbirth (also called intrauterine fetal demise) is most often defined as pregnancy loss that occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.1 (A loss which occurs before 20 weeks is usually considered a miscarriage.)
Unfortunately, stillbirths are fairly common, occurring in roughly 1 in 160 pregnancies.
SYMPTOMS OF STILL BIRTH
Stillbirth can occur without symptoms, but the main one is not feeling fetal movement.2 Doctors often instruct women who are past 28 weeks pregnant to track fetal kick counts at least once a day. A low, absent, or especially high kick count can be a cause for concern.
Just like adults, babies have days when they are more active than others. An effective way to stimulate baby and monitor movement is to drink juice and then lie down. Usually, a baby will respond with kicks over the next 30 minutes or more. Trust instincts. If baby feels less active or in contrast, overly active.
A mother's intuition can not be underestimated when it comes to their babies well-being.
CAUSES OF STILL BIRTH
While 25% to 60% of stillbirths are unexplained, a range of known factors can cause babies to be stillborn, including the following:
- Birth defects: Chromosomal abnormalities in the baby or birth defects, like anencephathy, cause 14% of stillbirths.
- Infections: In developed countries, up to 24% of stillbirths (and/or miscarriages) are related to infections, like bacterial vaginosis, group B strep, parvovirus B19 (fifth disease), Listeria food poisoning, cytomegalovirus, genital herpes, and syphilis. Infections are more likely to cause early stillbirth (20 to 28 weeks gestation) than stillbirth after 28 weeks.
- Placental abruption: When the placenta separates prematurely from the uterine wall, the condition is known as placental abruption. Some degree of placental abruption occurs in 1% of pregnancies. The risk of stillbirth depends on the degree of separation, with a separation of 50% or more often causing stillbirth.
- Umbilical cord accidents: Umbilical cord accidents, such as a knot in the cord, a prolapsed cord (when the cord comes out of the vagina before the baby and gets compressed), or a cord tightly coiled around the baby's neck, account for around 10% of stillbirths. However, many babies are born with the cord loosely around their neck without causing problems.
As with most other pregnancy losses, stillbirths often occur without any identifiable risk factors. However, some risk factors associated with an increased risk of stillbirth include:
- Abdominal trauma related to motor vehicle accidents, falls, or domestic violence
- Alcohol use or drug use (both prescription and nonprescription) during pregnancy
- History of preterm birth, toxemia, or intrauterine growth retardation in a prior pregnancy
- History of stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death (death during the first 28 days of life)
- Intrauterine growth retardation
- Lack of prenatal care
- Maternal age greater than 35 or less than 201
- Maternal health conditions, particularly high blood pressure and diabetes, along with lupus, kidney disease, and some blood clotting disorders
- Post-term pregnancies, or those overdue beyond 41 to 42 weeks gestation4
- Pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension)
- Race (higher incidence is found in Black women than White women regardless of socioeconomic status)5
- Sleeping in a supine (on your back) position6
- Twin (and other multiple) pregnancies
PREVENTION FOR STILL BIRTH
In some cases, stillbirth may be prevented, and other times prevention is not possible. As part of prenatal care, doctors watch for early signs of problems in the mother and the baby. When risk factors exist, such as high blood pressure, a doctor and patient can sometimes take action to reduce the risk. This is why regular prenatal care is so important.
For women who are at increased risk of stillbirth, consultation with a perinatologist or an obstetrician who specializes in high-risk pregnancy should be considered.
For an average-risk pregnancy, the best things we can prevent stillbirth are take care of overall health and watch for signs of trouble with the pregnancy. This includes the following:
- Try to get to a healthy weight before pregnancy.
- Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or use recreational drugs during the pregnancy.
- Monitor babies kicks, and tell doctor if notice any changes that concern .
- Sleep on side rather than back.
- Avoid foods that could cause food poisoning, such as soft cheeses, unpasteurized dairy products, and undercooked meats.
- Tell doctor right away if experience any unusual abdominal pain, itching, or vaginal bleeding.
However, in many cases, including cord accidents, placental abruption, chromosomal conditions, or other unforeseeable problems, a stillbirth can occur without warning and is rarely preventable.
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR RECURRENT STILLBIRTH
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. Recurrent still birth symptoms treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the complaints. Some important remedies are given below for problem suffering during pregnancy
Useful for extreme fear experienced during pregnancy.Given when contractions feel violent and intense, producing a state of fear and anxiety.There is restlessness, agitated and fearful that they might die. Especially helpful during transitional phase of labour. Recommended when baby appears shocked and unsettled after birth. Very comforting for nervous fathers and grandparents.
There is feeling of sore and bruised during labour. They may not want to be touched. Relieves soft tissue damage (perineum and abdomen) following birth.Useful to reduces swelling and bruising and risk of infection and promotes healing. Useful to reduce caput/swelling of baby’s head after birth.
Follows well after Arnica or if Arnica does not ease discomfort.Useful for exceptional for bruised, sore, pelvic pain or abdominal tissues during pregnancy and following birth.
Helpful to strengthen and tone the uterus and prepare and soften the cervix prior to birth. Also helpful if labour pains fail to dilate the cervix and contractions become irregular, short and spasmodic. Used to co ordinate and strengthen contractions.
Helpful to produce coordinated contractions while allaying fear and anxiety. Encourages a woman to trust the birth process and open up both emotionally and physically. She may feel unable to endure labour. Common words might be “I can’t do it.” Incredibly useful for women who may have a painful or traumatic memory of a past pregnancy, birth, miscarriage etc.
Excellent remedy for dysfunctional labour with failure to progress, especially if baby is lying in a posterior position. There is weakness and exhaustion and muscles tremble with the effort of movement. Useful for contractions that are felt in the back. Especially helpful when there is fear or anticipation of birth. Useful before birth to help ease anxiety. Also be useful to ease fear and anticipation of birth in fathers and grandparents.
Useful for shooting, nerve pains following caesarian section or perineal tears and episiotomy.
Useful for pain of contractions felt mainly in the back (especially posterior positioned babies). There is backache which may extend to the buttocks. Feel as if back would break and back pain is better for hard press