There can be nothing as painful as a still birth. A woman carries a baby inside her for nine months, often putting the baby over most of her priorities. She tries to do everything right, and at times, although rarely, for things out of her control, she might have a still birth. Sometimes, it happens without any warning. Sometimes, a small probability is expected if the pregnancy is of high-risk in nature. Whatever may be the case, there is absolutely nothing that we can say or do to make a mother, who has just lost her baby, feel better. What we can do, however, is to educate people on some of the preventive steps they can take to avoid a still birth. But before that, let us try to understand some of the causes of still birth.
What Are The Causes Of Still Birth
While at times a still birth can happen without any warning, in most cases, there are one or many underlying causes. Sometimes it is difficult to be predicted or prevented. Some of the common causes for still birth are:
There may be no warning signs. However, to diagnose still birth, the doctor will use a Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. If he is not able to hear the heartbeat, he will conduct an ultrasound to check the same. This sonogram usually confirms if the baby’s heartbeat has stopped. The doctor will also perform other tests such as amniocentesis to understand the cause of still birth.
Signs To Watch Out For Still Birth
Staying attentive to your baby’s movements is very important. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the below signs:
Sudden vaginal bleeding in the second and third trimester
Cramps that come and go and feel like hard contractions much before the due date
Sudden reduction in baby’s movements inside the womb
After 28 weeks, the kick counts from your baby is reduced
Absolutely no movement from the baby inside the womb
8 Preventive Measures To Avoid Still Birth
Here are 8 preventive measures you can take to reduce the probability of a still birth:
Folic Acid:Folic acid (synthetic form of vitamin B9) is extremely important during pregnancy as it can avoid many birth defects in children. It avoids neural tube defects and associated with spinal cord and brain. So ensure you take a folic acid supplement, as recommended by your doctor, without fail
Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with a proper balanced diet is absolutely essential during your pregnancy. You are what you eat. And during pregnancy, your child is also what you eat. So include all important nutrients in your diet, time your meals properly and avoid high fatty food items
Exercise: Since obesity is one of the common reasons for birth complications and still birth, it is important to maintain a healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy. Engage in 30 minutes to 60 minutes of low to moderate impact exercises during your pregnancy. Even walking can help, if you are not up to anything fancy. However, talk to your doctor before any physical exercise
Prenatal Vitamins: Just like folic acid supplements, it is important to take all the prenatal vitamins that your doctor prescribes as each of them have got a different role to play in your pregnancy. Furthermore, if you have a history of still births, then the doctor might prescribe some medicines to avoid it, which also you need to take regularly, without fail. It might be a good idea to buy a medicine sorter so that you can keep track of what to take at what time of the day for the entire week
Avoiding bad habits: If you have not already, pregnancy would be the best time to kick out bad habits such as smoking, drugs and alcohol consumption, all of which are known to cause pregnancy problems and increase the risk of still births
Avoiding accidents: Even when one shows no “symptoms” of a high risk pregnancy, an accident can change the status quo. Try to be very careful to avoid such an accident. Wear comfortable shoes when you are walking avoiding heels. Try to avoid uneven surfaces or slippery roads. Always have someone with you for support, especially in the last trimester. When you are travelling by car, always wear a seat belt. Most of the accidents can be prevented, remember that
Avoiding food poisoning: It is best to stick to home cooked healthy meals during your pregnancy. Eating from outside is not a good idea, least of all during your pregnancy, as you can never be sure of the hygiene factors in a restaurant, even if it is a highly popular one. Many of the store bought vegetables are also pesticide laden, so make sure you wash the vegetables clean before cooking them. Further, many food items need to be avoided during pregnancy. For more on this, read 10 Foods To Definitely Avoid During Pregnancy
Constant fetal monitoring: If you are in high risk pregnancy category, your doctor might ask you to do more ultrasound scans than usual to ensure that the baby has a healthy heartbeat. Make sure you follow this schedule
There is no need to worry too much or panic during your pregnancy as that can only lead to more problems. Instead, remain happy and positive and take care of yourself well.