Debunking 6 Popular Myths About Stillbirth
Mums, are you aware of these myths?
Stillbirth is a hard topic to read about, but in awareness comes the comfort of being better prepared. In Asia, stillbirth is still a topic that is almost taboo to talk about.
Oftentimes, no one really knows what has happened to the baby or how it occurred. This article aims to bust those stillbirth myths and taboos and help bring awareness to the fore—with the hope of helping prevent any more, and hopefully, give some comfort to those who are silently suffering through a stillbirth.
What is stillbirth?
Let’s start with, WHAT EXACTLY IS A STILLBIRTH?
Obstetrician-gynecologist Katleen del Prado, a perinatologist and a high-risk pregnancy specialist in private practice in Lucena City, Quezon, Philippines, defines stillbirth as “the delivery of a baby without a heartbeat beyond five months of pregnancy. Less than five months or a fetus less than 500 grams, we classify as a miscarriage.”
Stillbirth can be early, late or term, depending on when it happens. It’s an early stillbirth if the fetal death occurs between weeks 20 and 27 of the pregnancy, a late stillbirth if it occurs between weeks 28 and 36 of the pregnancy, and a term stillbirth if it occurs during week 37 or beyond of the pregnancy.
5 stillbirth myths
Stillbirth myth 1: A stillbirth and miscarriage are one and the same.
No. As said above, there is a very distinct definition of which is which.
One other thing that differentiates the two is the fact that a miscarriage is what happens in utero, whereas with a stillbirth, you can still give birth to your child, but unfortunately, the child dies in the delivery process.
Stillbirth myth 2: A stillbirth occurs because a pregnant woman is too active.
Again, wrong. A stillbirth is caused by many different factors. It has nothing to do with how much or how little a woman’s activity in her life is.
Stillbirth myth 3: You should sleep on your back.
This one is also false. Sleeping on your side actually is one of the best ways to prevent a stillbirth. Also, it is one of the more comfortable ways to sleep once the pregnancy enters the latter part of the second trimester.
Stillbirth myth 4: “Once my pregnancy gets to 12 weeks and I’ve passed that milestone, I cannot suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth.”
We are so sorry to say that this is false.
Usually, pregnant women are told to wait until the 12-week mark to announce their pregnancy. This is to make sure that the formation of the baby in the mother’s body is “secure.” Though we do not want to take away any of the happiness that pregnancy brings you and your family—and we are not trying to scare you—but do be aware that pregnancy loss can still happen. Stay healthy and vigilant about making sure you, and in turn, your baby is safe.
Stillbirth Myth 5: There is no cure for stillbirth.
Well, yes. There is no “cure” at all for this, but there are things you can do to prevent it.
One of the easiest ways is to count your baby’s kicks. Doctors say that the best time to do this is right after you eat. Most babies are most active around this time.
Another way, as mentioned above, is to sleep on your left side. Above all, just try and stay as healthy as you can and check in with your OB/GYN as much as possible to track your pregnancy.
Stillbirth Myth 6: It’s the woman’s fault.
There must have been something she or her family did to “deserve” this.
Dearest mothers: this is absolutely, 100% not your fault. Unfortunately, things like these happen, and even when we try our best to prevent it or take care of ourselves, there are things like these that happen. But none of this is your fault.
Project Sidekicks: Information about stillbirth
Here at theAsianparent, we have a Kick Counter function on our APP, wherein you can count the kicks of your baby. It is important that you monitor your baby’s movements because a decrease in movement might be a warning that something might be wrong.
For more information on stillbirth, log on to Project Sidekicks.
This article was first published on theAsianparent Philippines and republished on theAsianparent with permission.