Entries in Stillbirth (5)


New Pennsylvania Law Allows Birth Certificates for Stillborns

Comstock/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- Come Sept. 5, 2011, Pennsylvania will become the 31st state to offer the birth certificates for stillborns upon request.

The push for states to offer Certificates of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth started in Arizona in 1999 with Joanne Cacciatore, a trauma and grief counselor in Phoenix and mother of Cheyenne, who died about 15 minutes before she was born.

"No one else should have to go through what I felt when I called the office of records and they told me I didn't have a baby," said Cacciatore, who helped lobby for the Pennsylvania bill. "We need to extend the same compassion to women who experience the death of a baby to families who experience the death of a teenager."

A stillbirth, Cacciatore said, is no less tragic than any other death.

"Very few things are more traumatic than the experience of birth and death at the same time," she said.  "A mother then goes home to an empty room, breast milk, postpartum hormones and people's comments. It's a very biologically, socially, and emotionally traumatic experience for women."

Cacciatore said the birth certificate is deeply symbolic; much like a marriage certificate is for gay couples.  She also hopes it will incite a change in culture when it comes to talking about stillbirth.

"When people ask me how many children I have, I'll say I have four who walk and one who soars," she said. "The love of a parent transcends death.  Just because she died at birth doesn't make her any less valuable."

But the battle for birth certificates was fraught with opposition, with abortion rights groups arguing they could be used as fodder by anti-abortion activists.  However, the law, which makes the certificate available upon request following non-elective terminations, does not seek to define when life begins.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Could Sleeping Position Affects Risk Of Stillbirth?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(AUCKLAND, New Zealand) -- A study of 465 women in New Zealand suggests that there may be a link between how pregnant women sleep and the risk of a stillbirth.

The authors from the University of Auckland surveyed pregnant women as well as those who had a stillbirth in late pregnancy about their sleeping practices, including snoring, sleep position and night-time waking.  They found a number of stillbirth-associated events:  1) not sleeping on the left side the night before the interview was associated with higher risk of stillbirth;  2)  women who went to the toilet once or less per night were also more likely to experience a stillbirth compared to women who got up more frequently;  3) women who slept during the day regularly in the month preceding the interview or the stillbirth were also more likely to have a stillbirth.  

Even though the authors point out that the results of this study need to be confirmed by other researchers, they conclude that “promoting optimal sleep position in later pregnancy may have the potential to reduce the incidence of late stillbirth.”
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Lucy Chappell, a clinical senior lecturer in maternal and fetal medicine at King's College London, underscores the need for “any simple intervention that reduces the risk of stillbirth," but points that this research needs to be interpreted with extreme caution.  One reason is that the findings are based on the recollection of women up to a month after experiencing a stillbirth.  The accuracy of such recollections is not likely to be high, as they involve mundane life-pattern details immediately preceding a highly traumatic event.  Therefore, Dr. Chappell writes that “a forceful campaign urging pregnant women to sleep on their left side is not yet warranted.”

Copyright 2011 ABC news Radio


World Health Organization: Stillbirths Affect Millions Globally

Comstock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Over 2.6 million women worldwide deliver a stillborn baby each year, according to a special series published in The Lancet Wednesday.

According to the series, which offers the first comprehensive look at the heavy global burden of stillbirths around the world, more than 7,300 stillbirths occur every day.

The World Health Organization defines "stillbirth" as fetal death after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Ninety-eight percent of stillbirths happen in low- and middle-income countries, and nearly half of them occur during childbirth, particularly among women who do not have access to basic medical services.  But even in wealthy countries, one in 200 pregnancies results in a stillbirth.

Stillbirth rates vary dramatically, both among and within nations.  Collectively, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, China and Bangladesh account for half of stillbirths worldwide.  In India, rates vary by state, from 20 to 66 per 1,000 births.

Within the United States, which has a national rate of three stillbirths per 1,000 births and ranks 17th out of 193 countries, non-Hispanic blacks experience double the stillbirth rate of white women.

Ways to prevent these deaths are relatively simple and well-known, and the series' authors conclude that global use of 10 interventions could prevent 45 percent of stillbirths.  The availability of comprehensive emergency obstetric services alone, which can prevent complications at the moment of childbirth, could prevent nearly 700,000 stillbirths, according to the series.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Risk of Stillbirth, Birth Defects Is Increased with Second-Hand Smoke

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NOTTINGHAM, England) -- A British study found that risk of stillbirth is increased by 23 percent and birthing a baby with defects by 13 percent when pregnant women are exposed to cigarette smoke at work or in the home.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham reviewed data fro 19 previous studies from around the world.  Studies were included from North America, South America, Asia and Europe and focused on non-smoking mothers-to-be, who experienced second-hand smoke in their home or work environments.

Their analysis of the data discovered an increased risk after exposure to more than 10 cigarettes per day.

But the study authors also note that while second-hand smoke increased the risk of stillbirth and birth defects, they found no heightened risk of miscarriage or newborn death from passive smoking.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Artificial Pancreas Could Help Prevent Stillbirth

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAMBRIDGE, U.K.) - New research could help save the lives of pregnant women with type 1 diabetes and their children, reports WebMD.

The research, funded by Diabetes U.K., has found that an artificial pancreas could help control blood sugar levels by producing insulin. The device would automatically produce the correct amounts of insulin in order to keep blood glucose levels in a normal range.

“For women with type 1 diabetes, self-management is particularly challenging during pregnancy due to physiological and hormonal changes," said Helen Murphy of Cambridge University. "Previous studies indicate that pregnant women with the condition spend an average of 10 hours a day with glucose levels outside the recommended target."

High blood glucose levels in pregnant women can lead to stillbirth, preterm delivery and congenital malformation.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio