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Stillborn rate in U.S. has not moved for 15 years

For parents who have lost a child, the grief is tremendous. With a pregnancy comes the expectation of a normal birth and a child. Unlike some conditions, pregnancy seems so normal, and so many proceed with few issues that it is shockingly disorienting for something to go wrong and to leave a couple without a child.

When it comes to birth injuries and the death of a child, there is no good news. The devastation parent's face can be overwhelming, but some may, at least, learn what went wrong during the birth, even if it may be necessary to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit to learn the truth and bring about closure.

For a different group of parents, a similar issue may leave them with equivalent grief, and they are parents of stillborn children. What is troubling, according to a recent series of articles in the journal The Lancet, is that there has been little reduction in the number of stillborn babies, with more than 2.6 million occurring worldwide annualy.

The U.S. fared poorly among industrialized countries, finishing 22nd, and having experienced only a 0.4 percent reduction in the last 15 years. The report also pointed to the significant lack of knowledge as to why many of these deaths occur.

Sometimes, a mother or child may present clear warning signals. If the doctors fail to recognize these signs or do not react properly, it can lead to a difficult pregnancy and potentially a stillbirth. It may also be medical malpractice.

Because a stillbirth is traumatic to the parents, they may not want an autopsy performed and may believe that the child was stillborn due to birth defects or other fundamental problems. However, without an autopsy, it may be impossible to fully understand what happened.

They may be too sensitized because of the trauma to recognize the importance of determining the reasons for their baby's demise, but the knowledge gained learning the causes may be able to help prevent other parents from having to experience similar trauma.

Source: care2.com, "How Can We Reduce Surprising U.S. Stillbirth Numbers?" Rebecca Bauman, February 23, 2016

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