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5 Ways to Reduce Your Stillbirth Risk

Simple strategies you can do to ensure the best possible outcome for your baby.

Stillbirth is when a baby dies before he or she is born, anytime from 20 weeks of pregnancy or 400 grams in weight. According to the Stillbirth Foundation Australia, six Australian babies are stillborn each day. This equates to more than 2,000 babies each year. Unfortunately, the rate has not reduced in two decades.

While the cause of many stillbirths go unexplained, it’s important to know the risk factors and the key things you can do during your pregnancy to reduce these risks.  

1.Sleep on your side in the last trimester

The simple method of sleeping on your side could save your baby’s life. A New Zealand-led international study has found that sleeping on your side in the last three months of pregnancy (after 28 weeks) can more than halve your risk of stillbirth, regardless of which side you sleep on.

Sleeping on your side in the last three months of pregnancy (after 28 weeks) can more than halve your risk of stillbirth, regardless of which side you sleep on.


The reason behind this, according to research by the University of Auckland, has to do with the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby. When you’re on your back, the uterus compresses the inferior vena cava, the big vein that brings blood back to the heart and reduces the blood supply going to the uterus, placenta and the baby.

2.Seek help if your baby’s movements decrease

Your baby’s movements are a good indicator of your baby’s wellbeing. Experts recommend contacting your midwife or doctor immediately if you experience a decrease or change in your baby’s movements (i.e. your baby moves less often, or their movements feel weaker) as this may be a sign your baby is unwell and needs to be checked. 

Experts recommend contacting your midwife or doctor immediately if you experience a decrease or change in your baby’s movements (i.e. your baby moves less often, or their movements feel weaker) as this may be a sign your baby is unwell and needs to be checked.

While you can go by your instincts or be a bit more vigilant, you can easily monitor your baby’s movement patterns with various apps, such as the Count the Kicks app. Apps like this can help you keep track of how many kicks your baby does daily, and you can also set reminders to check - so you can instantly detect if something isn’t right. The Movement Matters campaign also provides a wealth of information about your baby’s movements during pregnancy.
3.Stop smoking

If you smoke, get support to quit while you are pregnant. Every cigarette contains harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, which can have damaging effects on your unborn baby.

Smoking is strongly associated with stillbirth and is also linked to other serious problems such as foetal growth restriction, premature birth, and SIDS.

4.Go to all your antenatal appointments

It’s important not to skip any of your antenatal appointments. Specific tests and measurements are done at certain times to track progress and identify potential problems.

Good antenatal detection can detect things like foetal growth restriction – when the baby isn’t growing well – which is a strong indicator of potential problems, including stillbirth. Going to all your appointments will also mean your midwife can give you relevant information as your pregnancy progresses to improve your baby’s chances of being born healthy. 

Good antenatal detection can detect things like foetal growth restriction – when the baby isn’t growing well – which is a strong indicator of potential problems, including stillbirth.

5. Optimise birth timing

 Your risk of stillbirth increases near the end of pregnancy or past your due date, as the health of the placenta decreases. If you’re in a higher-risk group, your pregnancy should also be closely monitored for you risk for stillbirth. You’re considered in a higher-risk group if you:

  • are older than 35 years
  • smoke
  • are overweight or obese
  • have pre-existing diabetes
  • are having your first baby
  • have had a previous stillbirth
  • are Indigenous, South Asian in heritage or from other disadvantaged groups.

 

How Zoe Hope®  is helping

We believe the majority of stillbirths could be prevented with more research, education and awareness.

With every Zoe Hope® purchase you make, 10% of profits is donated to the Stillbirth Foundation Australia. Together we can prevent stillborn babies and reduce stillbirth rates in Australia

 

 

 

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