Keeping little hearts beating: Guarding against stillbirth

Today, in the United States, surrounded by the most incredible technology advances of all time and of any other country, pregnant women “know” that everything will be ok. The devastation of the moment is more complete because not only is a woman in the deepest of grief, but it is completely unexpected grief. No one wants to dwell on the fact that stillbirth can happen, but somehow we need to prepare ourselves for the fact that they CAN happen. This knowledge is a wonderful thing because it arms the mother with the necessary information to be watchful and to take action at the slightest hint of a problem.
There are 3 very important steps that every pregnant woman can take to reduce the likelihood of a stillborn baby.
1. Learn
Learning all that she can, through as many reputable sources possible gives a pregnant woman the knowledge to have as successful a pregnancy as possible. Doctors, books, magazines, websites, and articles give an endless supply of wonderful current information on risks, medical issues, and things to watch for during pregnancy. Don't pay attention to wives tales, herbal blends and medication that is “perfect” for your “ailment”.
Eat healthy foods, take vitamins, lightly exercise, and be cautious. You just can't do everything you did before you were pregnant. If it feels “wrong” don't do it. Heavy lifting, strenuous exertion, roller coasters, climbing on “things” are just a few things that should give you the “wrong” feeling. Use common sence. If you could fall, crash, exhaust yourself, possible cause any harm to yourself or your baby, don't do it.  

2. Watch

Pay attention to your body and your baby's habits. Now is the time to put what you have learned into action. Monitor your baby's movements by paying attention to awake times, sleep times, frequency of movement, location of baby and movements, and the strength of your baby's movements and kicks. Your baby should move at least 10 times every hour. If you have suffered from a stillbirth in the past, be extra vigilant in your watch. Ask your doctor why your baby was stillborn, and how you can be extra cautious this pregnancy, and what extra steps your doctor can take in your heath care.
3. Action
Take action right away when you recognize any of the warning signs that you have read about during your studies, or that your doctor cautioned You about. Your doctor won't be irritated with you when something goes wrong or if you just need assurance that everything is ok. Even if your doctor does get “irritated”, don't worry about it because your baby's life and heath are more important than your doctors “feelings”. It is your doctor's responsibility to take care of your needs whether they are physical or emotional. That is why we pay so much!
Remember, there are ways of being insistent when you are worried without being unkind to your doctor. In a few cases it can go beyond kind if a doctor will not listen. Do all you can to be kind, but remember your baby needs the best care.
Sometimes, no matter how careful you try to be, a stillbirth happens. Don't blame yourself! EVER!! That is a bad position for a woman to put herself. It is not your fault. Many stillbirths are unpreventable and unexplained.
This information is strictly for informational purposes alone and should never be used in the place of a doctor's advice.
Please ALWAYS contact your doctor if you ever have questions or need advice in any area where medical advice is needed or medication is suggested. 
Sjona Lindquist is a mom of 6 (1 angel) and she owns and operates ~ Preemie Store. ~ Preemie Store is a resource site and specialty shop for parents of premature babies. Lindquist's daughter was stillborn from a Strep B infection due to PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes). In honor of her daughter, Michaela, she offers preemie support, bereavement support, and preemie clothes. Some of the products include micro preemie clothes, preemie bereavement gowns, and Preemie dresses. If a new preemie has entered your life or someone you love, drop by and visit us! ~ Preemie Store


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