Having a stillborn is a devastating experience for any mom there is. And sometimes, no matter how much careful we are and how religiously we stick to our doctor’s appointment, it can happen. But what if there was a way that you could help prevent stillbirth? Something that you could do to reduce your chances of having a stillborn?
Stillbirth is defined as the death of the baby in the womb of the mother. It occurs after 20 weeks of gestation period. Though most stillbirths happen before labor, a small number of them occur during delivery (1).
Some of the common causes of stillbirth are placental abruption, preeclampsia, certain birth defects, and bacterial infections. Other causes of stillbirth which are not commonly seen include trauma, high blood pressure, maternal diabetes, a pregnancy that lasts beyond 42 weeks, and umbilical cord accidents.
Association Of Fetal Activity With Stillbirth
A case-control study was conducted to find the association between fetal activity and stillbirths. The internet-based study included 153 women who had a stillbirth at 28 weeks or later and a group of 480 women with ongoing pregnancy or who gave birth to a live-born child. It was found that women who had stillbirth were less likely to check the baby movements and were also associated with a significant reduction in fetal movements. This link between low fetal activity and stillbirth calls for awareness among women about monitoring the fetal activity and reporting abnormal behavior to their doctor (2).
Monitor The Baby Kicks
Moms eagerly wait to feel the first flutter. It gives them the assurance that their little one is developing just fine. You can feel your baby kicking anywhere between 18-25 weeks of pregnancy. News moms might take longer to feel the kicks, unlike second or third-time moms. So, if you are a first-time mom, you might feel the baby kick closer to 25th week of pregnancy (3).
Don’t panic if you are not able to understand what you are feeling. It might take you a couple of days at least to understand if it’s your baby kicking or just gas. With time, you will slowly be able to understand your baby’s sleep and wake cycles. You will also be able to know at what time he/she is most active and what triggers the baby’s movements.
Being attentive to your little one’s movements has a lot of benefits. It can help you to recognize potential risks and also prevent stillbirth. Spend some time every day monitoring your little one’s movements when he/she is most active. You can count the number of kicks, rolls, and jabs starting around the 28th week of your pregnancy.
Most moms feel that their babies are most active soon after a meal, eating something sweet, drinking something cold or after a workout session. You may also find your baby moving more at night time around 9:00 pm to 1:00 am when your blood sugar levels are low.
What Is Normal When It Comes To Kicking?
Of course, no two babies kick the same way. The time and activity level may vary. And there are numerous recommendations on how many kicks you are supposed to feel at a certain period of time. According to the American Congress Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you should time how long it takes for you to feel 10 movements. It could be kicks, flutters, or rolls. You are likely to feel 10 movements in a 2-hour period. It can be more than that too. Keep a note of the baby’s movements and look for significant deviations. If the baby’s movements have reduced drastically, wait for a few hours and try again. If there’s no improvement even the second time, contact your doctor. Also, if you notice any significant changes in your baby’s movements which last more than 3 days, call your doctor right away (4).
Feeling your baby kick and roll can remind you of the big picture when you are feeling low. It can also be a good bonding time with your baby. And now that it can help you identify the potential risks, just consider it as an added bonus!