A recently published study shows that placental health is highly correlated with stillbirth and other pregnancy complications. Researchers were trying to pinpoint causes and risk factors for stillbirths, and found that in 26% of the cases where the pregnancy did not go to term, problems with the placenta were the causative factor. They were looking at stillbirths where the baby died at or past 20 weeks gestation.
What I found most interesting from the data, though, was the racial disparity. African-American women have more than twice the risk of stillbirth than white or Hispanic women, even when accounting for differences in prenatal care. This disparity “remains largely unexplained”.
Of the 7,000 stillbirths in the world PER DAY, 98% happen in developing countries. Finland has the lowest rates in the world, while India and Pakistan have the highest. The U.S. is just over half a percent of all births, which has stayed the same since 2003.
>>Read the study
I had no idea that stillbirths were that prevalent.
Michelle Duggar recently lost her baby daughter, Jubilee, to stillbirth. She was over age 40 which was one of the risk factors. But now I wonder if there was a problem with the placenta that caused her death? In any case, my condolences go out to the Duggar family on their loss.
At 20 weeks gestation, the baby is a perfectly formed, tiny infant. Some families choose to memorialize the child by having family photos taken with the baby, as the Duggars did. The organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has volunteer photographers who will come in and take tasteful, often beautiful, always heart-breaking portraits of the baby and family before the baby goes to the funeral home. This work is a labor of love and compassion, and is often very difficult for the photographers. I am just grateful that there are people out there with enough love in their hearts to do this for grieving families.
Death is a part of life, but the death of a baby is especially difficult. Just because the child was small doesn’t mean he or she didn’t exist, or wasn’t loved. I think that honoring that life with a beautiful portrait is a wonderful way to remember that child, and the impact they had on the family.