Many women fear for the loss of their pregnancy. A stillbirth is the delivery of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy where the baby has not shown any sign of life after delivery. However in modern maternity practice in the developed world few babies are stillborn. Indeed there has been a dramatic improvement in the numbers of stillbirths over the last 40 years. For example in the 1960's around 20 babies in every 1000 were stillborn. Nowadays this has fallen to much less than 10 per 1000. Babies can also die after delivery and again there has been a marked reduction in the numbers of babies dying in the first 4 weeks after delivery. This has fallen from around 15 per 1000 births in the early 1960's to around 5-6 per 1000 in the late 1990's.
Pregnancy loss and Baby die information
The main reasons that babies are lost are serious abnormalities at birth, premature labour or delivery and a lack of oxygen supply from the afterbirth. Often the reason a baby dies cannot be explained, but Doctors can perform some tests to try and identify the cause of the death. These can include blood tests on the mother to look for any underlying medical condition, checks for infections in the mother and baby and examination of the baby and afterbirth.
Losing a baby, whether stillborn or after birth is an extremely difficult time for any parent. It is a time of tremendous pain and loss. It is a tragedy that may change the lives of the parents. Not only have they lost their baby but their hopes and dreams for the future have also been dashed.
There are also specialised organisations that can offer parents who have lost a baby a great deal of support and understanding.
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