Few life events are more heart-wrenching than the death of an unborn child. Regrettably, though, stillbirth becomes a reality for more than 24,000 American families every single year. This means one out of every160 pregnancies in the U.S. ends in stillbirth, where the baby dies at or after the mother’s 20th week of pregnancy.
Doctors often fail to warn expectant mothers and fathers of stillbirth risk, leaving affected parents feeling despondent and powerless. While some stillbirths happen for unexplained reasons, others occur because of physician error.
If a mother develops preeclampsia, she is twice as likely to have a stillborn baby. This condition occurs when blood pressure skyrockets late in pregnancy. Accordingly, doctors must closely monitor mothers for signs of preeclampsia and take measures to minimize stillbirth risk.
Placental and umbilical cord problems
The placenta and umbilical cord deliver blood, vital nutrients and oxygen to unborn babies. If either of these ruptures of develops other problems, stillbirth may occur. Consequently, doctors should check the health of the placenta and umbilical cord frequently during any pregnancy.
Mothers with lupus, clotting disorders, infections and other medical disorders may be at increased risk of delivering a stillborn baby. Fortunately, doctors often have medications and procedures at their disposal to help unborn babies survive.
Lifestyle and environmental factors
Maternal smoking, drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs may cause stillbirths. Likewise, if a pregnant mother sustains abdominal or other physical trauma, the unborn baby may not survive. Of course, eating a healthy diet and receiving competent prenatal care may decrease a woman’s chances of having a baby die during her pregnancy.
No family should ever have to deal with the death of an unborn baby. Still, if a stillbirth occurs because medical professionals do not provide adequate care, grieving parents may be eligible for significant financial compensation.