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Breaking the Silence: Understanding Stillbirth, Prevention, and Awareness

In the realm of maternal health, one heartbreaking reality stands out—stillbirth. Every year, thousands of families face the unimaginable loss of a child, a pain that often goes unspoken and unnoticed. As we observe National Stillbirth Prevention Day, we shed light on this silent sorrow, aiming to raise awareness and promote prevention.

a mother' hands holding her baby’s feet in a heart shape. National Stillbirth Prevention Day September 19th
National Stillbirth Prevention Day September 19th

According to CDC statistics, stillbirth, defined as the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of gestation, affects approximately 1 in 160 pregnancies in the United States1. This means about 24,000 babies are stillborn each year in the U.S. alone.

What Are The Risk Factors?

A risk factor is not a guarantee that stillbirth will occur. Many pregnancies with risk factors result in healthy, full-term births. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized guidance and care during pregnancy. Proper prenatal care, early detection, and appropriate management can significantly reduce these risks and promote a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Advanced Maternal Age: Women who conceive at an older age, typically beyond 35 or 40, face a slightly higher risk of stillbirth.

Previous Stillbirth: Having experienced a stillbirth in a prior pregnancy slightly elevates the risk in subsequent pregnancies.

Smoking, Alcohol, or Substance Abuse: Engaging in these behaviors during pregnancy can elevate the risk of stillbirth.

Fetal Growth Restriction: If the baby is not growing adequately during pregnancy, it may increase the risk of stillbirth.

Multiple Pregnancy: Carrying twins or more increases the risk of stillbirth compared to single pregnancies.

Poor Prenatal Care: Inadequate or delayed prenatal care can impact the detection and management of potential risks.

History of Preterm Birth: Women with a history of preterm births may have a slightly higher risk of stillbirth.

Genetic Factors: Some genetic conditions or abnormalities may increase the likelihood of stillbirth.

Socioeconomic Factors: Low socioeconomic status and limited access to healthcare can impact prenatal care and contribute to stillbirth risk.

Placental Conditions: Compromised blood flow due to issues with the placenta can lead to stillbirth.

Infections: Certain infections during pregnancy can increase the risk of stillbirth.

Chronic Medical Conditions: Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure may contribute to stillbirth risk.

Steps Towards Prevention

Regular and thorough prenatal care is vital for monitoring the baby's growth, development, and well-being. Early detection of potential issues allows for timely intervention, reducing stillbirth risk. There is a myth circulating that the baby will move less, the bigger it gets. This is false information. Fetal movements should continue to get stronger up until the time of birth. Monitoring your baby's movements is crucial. Perform daily "kick counts" starting at 28 weeks of gestation. Keep a log of each “kick count” session, for future comparison. The log will allow you to identify what has been normal movement for your baby. Find a quiet place, sit or lie down, and note the time it takes to feel ten distinct movements, also noting the strength and speed of each movement. If it takes longer than two hours, contact your healthcare provider immediately. A change in movement could indicate fetal distress and warrant intervention.

Reach out if you experience any unusual symptoms such as severe headaches, vision changes, persistent abdominal pain, or any other concerning symptoms. Familiarize yourself with the contact information and location of your local labor and delivery department. In case of emergencies or concerning signs, don't hesitate to reach out or visit the Labor and Delivery Department for evaluation. Conclusion

Educating ourselves and others about stillbirth prevention is key to reducing its occurrence. By sharing knowledge, supporting affected families, and advocating for research and medical advancements, we can strive for a world where every baby gets a chance at a healthy life.


  1. CDC. (2020). Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System. Retrieved from


The information posted by Postpartum Network, and its representatives on the Instagram account @postpartumnetwork, Facebook account @postpartumnetwork, website (, or any other medium or social media platform (the “Information”) is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical, mental health, legal, or other advice. Postpartum Network is not engaged in rendering diagnosis, treatment, counseling, or therapy services by providing the information, and your use of the information does not create any nurse-patient or other treatment relationship between you and Postpartum Network, or any of its representatives. Postpartum Network, and its representatives assume no responsibility and expressly disclaim liability for any consequence relating directly or indirectly to any action or inaction you take based on the information. Reliance on any information provided by Postpartum Network, its representatives, and contributors, is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your own licensed and qualified medical, mental health, legal, or other professional, and do not disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it based on the information. Call your medical or mental health professional, or 911, for all emergencies.

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