Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today is a national remembrance for miscarriage, infant loss and stillbirths. A day to spread awareness about miscarriages and infant loss, this is mostly carried out in the United States. You don’t have to be in the US to spread awareness, losing a child or a loved one is hard on everyone particularly mothers. We shouldn’t just grieve, we should also talk about it, losing a child especially infants is hard on parents particularly mothers. Talking about it with loved one or a specialist is a good step in maintaining mental wellbeing. We are going to discuss about miscarriage and stillbirth.

Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks. The main sign of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, which may followed by cramping and pain in your lower abdomen. If you have virginal bleeding during pregnancy, you are advice to contact your doctor or physician or midwife immediately.

Most doctors can refer you to an early pregnancy unit at a local hospital immediately, if necessary. If your pregnancy is at later stage, you may be referred to maternity ward. However, you should know that light vaginal bleeding is relatively common during the first trimester of pregnancy and does not certainly mean you are having a miscarriage.

Causes of miscarriage?

There are perhaps many reason for the occurrence of miscarriage, although the causes is not usually identified. Most of the time, miscarriage has nothing to do with mother’s actions. It has been hypothesized that miscarriages mostly happen as a result of abnormal chromosomes in the body. Chromosomes are the ‘building blocks’ that guide the development of baby. If a baby has too much or not enough chromosomes, it will not develop properly. In most women, miscarriage is one-off event and they go on to have successful pregnancy in the future.

Can miscarriage be prevented?

Most miscarriages cannot be prevented. But there are somethings you can do to reduce the risks of it. Drinking alcohol, drug use while pregnant and smoking, should be avoided. Eating healthy diet, being a healthy weight before getting pregnant and reducing risk of infection can also help.

After a miscarriage

Miscarriages can be physically and emotionally draining experience. You may have guilt, anger and shock. Support and advice is available at this time from hospital counselling services and charity groups. It may be beneficial to have a memorial for your lost baby. You can try for another baby after your symptoms have settled and you’re physically and emotionally ready. Most women are able to have healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage, even in case of recurrent miscarriages

Stillbirth

Stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. In the United Kingdom, it happens in around 1 in every 200 births, but in developing countries like Nigeria, the prevalence of stillbirth is extremely high (12% of the global burden), second to India. If a baby dies before this period, it known as a miscarriage or late foetal loss.

It important to contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you’re pregnant and worried about your baby – for instance, if you notice less movement of the baby than usual. Don’t wait until the next day. If your baby is moving less, it can be a sign that something’s wrong and need to be checked out.

What causes stillbirth?

Some stillbirth are linked to complication with the placenta, a birth defect or with the mother’s health. For others, no cause is found. Other conditions can cause or be associated with stillbirth including:

  1. Placenta abruption – where placenta separates from the womb before the baby is born (there may be bleeding or abdominal pain)
  2. Bleeding (haemorrhage) before or during labour.
  3. Pre-eclampsia – a condition that causes high blood pressure in mothers.
  4. A genetic physical defect in the baby
  5. Pre-existing diabetes
  6. An infection in the mother that also affect the baby

What happens when a baby dies before they’re born?

If your baby died, you may be able to wait for labour to start or your labour may be induced. If your health is at risk, the baby may be delivered as soon as possible. It’s rare for a stillborn baby to be delivered by caesarean section.

After a stillbirth?

After stillbirth, decisions about what to do are very personal. There is no right or wrong way to respond. A specialist midwife will talk with you about what you want to do – for instance, holding the baby or taking photographs. They can also discuss the tests you may be offered to find out why your baby died and give you information about registering the birth.

Can stillbirth be prevented?

Some stillbirth cannot be prevented, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, for instance:

  1. Attending all your antenatal appointments so that midwives can monitor the growth and wellbeing of your baby.
  2. Not smoking, avoiding alcohol and drugs during pregnancy
  3. Not going to sleep on your back after 28 weeks – don’t worry if you wake up on your back, just turn onto your side before you go back to sleep.

For more information please talk to your physician or doctor.

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