Stillbirths is a tragic situation leading to maternal depression as one of the major consequences. Stillbirth can be defined as the death of the baby during the process of delivery or the death of the baby between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. The World Health Assembly has endorsed an action plan called Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP). This plan aims for a global target of 12 or fewer stillbirths per 1000 total births in every country by the year 2030. This action plan was set in the year 2014. By the year 2019, a total of 128 countries mainly belonging to the high-income and upper middle-income category had already met this target. However, research indicates that some vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities in high income countries can still suffer from incidences of stillbirths. Several countries falling in the low and lower middle-income countries are trying to catch up with the set target. They should adopt stringent measures to control stillbirth so that they can make ENAP successful.
How to prevent stillbirths?
According to National Health Service (NHS) portal of UK it's not possible to stop each and every stillbirth but knowing risk factors and taking preventive steps accordingly makes a big difference:
- Antenatal appointments should never be missed. This prevents missing out on any relevant information from doctors and midwives. Though people in urban India are particular about it but in rural areas, it is a matter of concern due to lack of insight and superstitions.
- Being active during pregnancy and maintaining a healthy diet is the only option.
- It is not the time of adopting diets that one consumes during weight loss initiatives. Eat well and eat only healthy food.
- Whether it is active or passive smoking, both are harmful. Alcohol is also extremely harmful. Stop consuming these. Drugs should be outrightly avoided.
- Sleeping on the back after 28 weeks of pregnancy increases the chances of stillbirths as per research. Hence sleeping on the sides is required.
- There are many preventive vaccinations available for adults as well. Consult your doctor and take those vaccines like a seasonal flu vaccine.
- We are living in times when infections can get deadly. Simple measures would go a long way like washing hands, use of masks, avoiding ill people etc. Some foods can also instigate infections in the body. Avoid outside food, raw and undercooked meat and maintain cleanliness of all food items at home.
- Be very vigilant about warning signs like reduced movement of the baby, bleeding from the vagina, severe pain in abdomen etc.
Medicircle has conducted interviews with eminent gynaecologists and obstetricians like Dr. Monika Agrawal, Dr. Rishma Pai, Dr. Kirti Shankhdhar, Dr. Anuradha Narayanan, Dr. Rohan Palshetkar, Dr. Nandita Palshetkar, and many other doctors of repute on safe motherhood. You may go through their valuable advice by clicking on the links.