Pregnancy After Stillbirth – What to Expect?

6 min read

Pregnancy After Stillbirth

Getting pregnant is a beautiful feeling for most women. They are eager to meet their baby. Every scan brings them closer to meeting their bundle of joy. When this highly anticipated journey is cut short due to a miscarriage or a stillbirth, it can be really hard on the parents, especially the woman. What can she do now? Should she drown in sorrow and keep thinking of the baby she never met, or should she try again to get pregnant? Is pregnancy after still-birth possible?

If she does decide to get pregnant again, will it be a successful pregnancy, or will fate strike again? Now, that’s a pretty tough question, isn’t it? If you have been unfortunate to lose a child this way and have gotten pregnant again, congratulations! Here we have some basic details covered to help you through this pregnancy.

In This Article

What Causes Stillbirth?

The reasons could be many. Sometimes the doctors are unable to find a proper explanation. Some of the most common reasons for still-birth are:

  • Problem with the placenta
  • Problem with the umbilical cord
  • Hypertension
  • Infections that reached the placenta
  • Birth defects
  • Physical injury like accidents

How Long Should You Wait to Get Pregnant Again After Stillbirth?

A stillbirth is when the baby in the womb dies after completing 20 weeks. WHO recommends a gap of 6 months before trying to conceive after a miscarriage. However, there is no such recommendation for a stillbirth. According to certain studies conducted on pregnancies after a stillbirth, there were no issues for most women who conceived again within six months to 1 year.

[Read : Understanding All About Stillbirth]

Prepare For Rainbow Baby

couple with rainbow baby

A rainbow baby is a baby born after a stillbirth or a miscarriage. Once you conceive after a stillbirth, you need to prepare yourself for the pregnancy and the baby. This rainbow baby will be special and will fill a void left by the previous pregnancy that ended drastically. Here are a few tips to prepare yourself:

  1. Do not keep panicking over every small thing.
  2. It is ok to move on and embrace the next pregnancy. You are not forgeting the child you lost just because you decided to get pregnant again.
  3. This pregnancy can be very different from the previous one.
  4. Meditate to calm down your nerves and to get your anxiety under control.
  5. Take all your medications as prescribed.
  6. Do not follow any practice or remedies to “sustain” this pregnancy without your doctor’s approval.
  7. Don’t be too afraid to move or exercise. Staying still or in bed at all times is not going to help this pregnancy.
  8. Talk to a counselor if you are feeling traumatized about the past.
  9. Do not dismiss your pain. Losing a baby is tough, and you have survived it. Acknowledge and accept the pain.
  10. Seek help and support from friends and family as and when you need it.

When You Wait to Conceive?

Some couples may decide to wait a while before they try to conceive again after a stillbirth. This has both advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • You will be physically healthier to go through a pregnancy. If the stillbirth was at a later stage of the pregnancy, the chances are that your body underwent a lot of changes. It might have been physically drained and needs time to recuperate.
  • Your hormonal fluctuations after the pregnancy ended would gradually subside. Hormonal balance is essential for a healthy pregnancy.
  • You would have enough time to recover mentally. Losing a baby can be very hard on your mental health too.

Cons

  • You and your partner might give up the idea of having another baby.
  • You could slip into a deep depression, constantly thinking of the lost baby.
  • As you get older, your chances of pregnancy come down.

When You Conceive Immediately?

Some couples decide to conceive soon after a stillbirth. They don’t feel the need to wait it out. This has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • You would not lose any time in becoming a parent – very important for older couples. Waiting too long might decrease the chances of a pregnancy.
  • You can move on quickly and replace the tragedy with happy memories.
  • Also You don’t have to endure any pity looks or endless inquiries about your physical and mental health.

Cons

  • Your body might not be ready to support another pregnancy yet.
  • You might be traumatized by the tragedy and get very stressed.
  • You might experience high anxiety as the pregnancy progresses.

Manage Pregnancy Anxiety After Stillbirth

Pregnancy Anxiety After Stillbirth with counsellor

Are you feeling anxious ever since you found out you are pregnant again? It is very natural for a woman to feel very anxious and scared about her pregnancy after a stillbirth. Here are a few tips to help you cope:

  • Get professional counseling to get over the grief and to process the loss.
  • Meditate to help you calm down.
  • Develop a hobby that can keep you occupied at all times. This will reduce your chances of thinking about the “what ifs”.
  • Talk to your partner and let them know what you are going through.
  • Let your gynecologist know you are suffering from anxiety. They might prescribe something if they fear the anxiety can affect the baby inside.
[Read : 9 Most Common Causes Of Miscarriage]

What Increases the Risk of Having a Stillbirth?

Sometimes people can be unfortunate to have a stillbirth more than once. Some of the very common reasons could be:

  • Deficiency in the mother
  • Problem with the placenta
  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • Mother suffering from some illness during or before pregnancy
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Poor prenatal care
  • Poor lifestyle
  • Multiple births
  • Drugs

Chances of Successful Pregnancy After Stillbirth

The chances of having a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby, after a stillbirth, are high. Though studies have shown premature births or small-sized babies after a stillbirth, there is no conclusive evidence. Only a few cases had a stillbirth the second time.

[Read : 8 Preventive Measures To Avoid Still Birth]

Tips to Prevent Another Stillbirth

healthy diet - to prevent stillbirth

If your doctor has not found any physiological issues with your body, you can always go ahead and try for another baby. However, it is very natural to fear another stillbirth. Here are 10 tips to prevent such a tragedy again:

  1. Avoid drugs and alcohol – even the occasional glass of wine.
  2. Take your prenatal vitamins without fail.
  3. Follow doctor’s orders and suggestions – they are indeed qualified to tell you what to do.
  4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy.
  5. If your previous stillbirth was due to some health issues, get it sorted before getting pregnant.
  6. Routine checks for infections.
  7. Maintain blood pressure and sugar levels.
  8. Ensure your weight does not complicate things.
  9. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Avoid foods harmful for pregnancy.
  10. Get checked immediately in case of cramps, pain, or blood.

It can be hard to move on after a stillbirth. Don’t let the past haunt you. Find the strength to move and enjoy a successful pregnancy. You have nothing to fear unless your doctor says there are risks.

FAQ’s

1. Can the Food I Eat Cause a Stillbirth?

Yes, it can. Certain foods are not safe for pregnancy. Ensure you check with a doctor and avoid those foods.

2. Is There a Possibility of a Stillbirth Again?

Yes, but it is extremely rare. The majority of women have a successful pregnancy. Do not fear unless your doctor tells you there is a risk.

3. Can I Have a Successful Pregnancy After a Stillbirth?

Yes, you can. Many women have had a successful pregnancy. You can have more than one successful pregnancy too.

4. Can Stillbirth Cause Complications in the Next Pregnancy?

No, it mostly won’t. There is no proof that it can. It is an isolated incident.

Read Also:  Getting Pregnant After a Miscarriage

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