According to the CDC, stillbirths affect approximately one percent of pregnancies each year. That amounts to roughly 24,000 babies that do not get the opportunity to take their first breath. More than 10 times the number of infants die from stillbirth than those that die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Despite the many advances in medical technology, healthcare professionals are still unsure about what causes stillbirths. Because of this, many families are left grieving and without answers to their most pressing questions, the biggest of which is If you are like many women who lost babies in Louisiana, you may blame yourself. Do not do this, as stillbirths are rarely the result of something a woman did or did not do.

Though the healthcare field does not fully understand the true causes behind stillbirths, it has identified contributing factors. Those contributing factors fall into three categories: problems with the baby, health conditions within the mother and issues with the umbilical cord or placenta. Doctors categorize those that fall outside of these three categories as “unexplained stillbirths.” Unexplained stillbirths are more likely to occur further along in a woman’s pregnancy.

The healthcare industry also identifies risk factors for stillbirth. A woman’s risk for stillbirth increases if she demonstrates any of the following factors:  

  •       Being African-American
  •       Being 35 or older or being a teenager
  •       Being obese
  •       Having had a previous pregnancy loss
  •       Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  •       Having multiple pregnancies

A woman also increases her odds of stillbirth by smoking during her pregnancy. These factors are also associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth.

The content in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as legal advice.