India is one of the nations which have the highest number of stillbirths in the world. It topped the list of 195 countries that were researched in 2016. Even though some of the reasons due to which stillbirth happens is unavoidable, there are many which can help avert it. One such reason on why stillbirths happen and how to avert it has been discovered.
A stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 complete weeks of gestation. If a baby dies before 24 weeks, it’s called a miscarriage.
The study was published by American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The scientists were trying to discover whether placental aging has anything to do with stillbirth. Placental aging is basically referred to oxidative damage done to DNA, RNA, and lipids of placental cells. Their aim was to determine whether placentas delivered from women who have completed their term (around 37-39 weeks gestation) were in any way similar to the placentas delivered by women who deliver stillborn babies.
Their hypothesis was right the placental aging in women delivering placentas from late term pregnancy was quite similar to mums who have stillborn babies.
Why is this groundbreaking:
Just like people age at different rates, placentas age at different rates too. If the researchers are able to determine the rate of aging of the placenta by blood tests etc. they could deliver the babies early via C-section giving many babies life and protecting many parents from this heartbreaking fate. Or if the baby is too early in pregnancy, drugs that could inhibit the enzyme that causes aging process could work.
What are the other common reasons of stillbirth?
- Maternal Complications like high BP, Gestational Diabetes etc.
- Chromosomal Disorders and Birth Defects
- Problems with Placenta and Umbilical Cord
- Problems with growth of fetus
Mom, it’s not your FAULT!
Many mothers blame themselves and their body in general for not being able to carry a healthy baby. Anything that happens to your placenta, umbilical cord or any other complications are out of control of your hands. So, don’t blame yourself. Allow yourself to grieve, accept your sorrow, cry and then let go. It’s important that you take time to heal and ask for help. Talk to other mothers who have gone through it. As with everything, take time and space to move on.