What happens in labourStillbirth is the delivery of a dead baby between the 20th week of pregnancy and birth. A baby is stillborn in about 1 in 200 pregnancies. Because many stillbirths occur in what appear to be normal pregnancies, the parents-to-be are rarely prepared for this devastating outcome. If you're pregnant, the idea of stillbirth may be too painful for you to contemplate. Hence it is advisable that you be aware of the complications, causes of stillbirth and the kinds of decisions and choices that parents are going to have to make. While stillbirth is very traumatic emotionally, most women have a healthy baby in their next pregnancy.

Reasons For Stillbirth:
  • Some of the reasons are birth defects, problems with the umbilical cord or placenta, maternal conditions existing before or developing during pregnancy, chromosomal abnormalities and infection during pregnancy.
  • Certain lifestyle choices may be responsible and might increase your risk. Smoking, alcohol and use of illegal drugs have all been implicated in stillbirth.
  • Obesity and history of a previous stillbirth are also risk factors.
  • Women who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, face an increased chance of stillbirth, especially if these conditions are not well controlled. Women in their mid-30s or older women are more likely to develop such conditions or to have placental problems that may increase stillbirth risk.
  • Teen-age pregnancy is more risky, especially for those under 15; young women are more likely to experience placental problems or high blood pressure.

Symptoms Of Stillbirth:
Often, there are no physical symptoms or warnings of a stillbirth. The following symptoms, however, could signal a problem:

  • Many women who experience vaginal bleeding successfully carry their baby to term. But bleeding, especially during the second half of your pregnancy, may indicate a problem. So immediately consult your doctor if you experience bleeding.
  • Lack of foetal movement or a change in the normal activity level of your baby. Keep a track of the babies movement and incase you doubt that the baby has stopped moving immediately rush to the doctor.
  • Persistent cramping or stabbing pains in the pelvis, back or lower abdomen.
  • Another sign that the baby may have died is that you no longer feel pregnant, and you may notice physical changes such as your breasts becoming smaller.


Once it is known that a baby has died in the womb during pregnancy, medical staff will arrange for the woman to have labour induced, or for the baby to be born by Caesarean. Once it's been confirmed that the baby has died, a decision needs to be made about its birth. The options are to wait until labour starts naturally, or to have labour induced, or for the baby to be born by Caesarean.

If the decision is to wait for natural labour then it may take some time for labour to start naturally. Some parents prefer to take this time so that they can begin the process of coming to terms with the death, even though the waiting can be very difficult. Others prefer to go in for caesarean or induced labour because they think they can't cope with the situation. Physically, though, it's better for the mother's body to go through labour than to have a Caesarean, and many women say that having the experience of labour helps them to feel that they have done something for the baby. It is after all the decision of the mother.


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