Crucial Considerations to Help Prevent Stillbirth.

Get to know your baby's personality!! Pay attention to your baby during pregnancy and take note of their daily movements. This may sound odd at first, but think of this, once your baby is born you will study their features, watch them closely, marvel at their stages of development, and within a very short period of time you will know quite a bit about their personality. For example, with different cries you will learn which one means I am hungry, I am wet and uncomfortable, or I just want attention. With in a few weeks to a few months you will be able to identify the baby's moods and will know their sleep and wake patterns. You will keep a close watch on them and will never set them aside, just leave them be, and forget about them for a whole day simply because you have a hectic schedule.

But that is what happens today for many pregnant women. We all lead busy lives and often run at full speed and that's when things can get missed. You can lose track of time and forget important details. Thousands of women have reported that they were busy going about their lives and then all of a sudden one day there was a realization that they couldn't remember the last time they felt the baby. Just the same, many have said they remembered feeling a rapid increase of movement all of a sudden and then nothing similar for a long time, but couldn't remember when exactly that was.

So how can you get to know your baby when they are in the womb? One good way is to start by doing a daily kick count. Babies have a common sleep wake pattern by the gestational age of 28 weeks. For most women they will have started to feel their baby around 18 to 20 weeks. By week 28 there should be a familiarity with the baby's movement such as kicks, hiccups, swishes and turns. Doing kick counts just means you are taking a set time out of your day, everyday, to document how many and what kind of movements were felt in a 1 hour time frame. This is a good exercise to do anytime but especially good to do sometime in the evening from 7pm to 10pm. As you note the movements you feel, you will be more in touch with the types of patterns and activity level of your baby. Active, or not very active, does not necessarily mean good or bad. It is in the lack of consistency seen in the documented patterns that you will be alerted to any possible fetal stress issues.

Should you have a gut feeling or any sense that there is something that just is not right, don't hesitate to seek the help of a doctor. It is also just as important to not allow a doctor to send you home from an emergency hospital or clinic visit and not take your concerns seriously. If you have seen a decrease in movement or have consistently seen a pattern that is of concern from items listed in the top 10 list, make sure to find someone who will listen and advocate for you and your baby. Too many women are sent home, only to go back to the hospital in the next few days and find there is no longer any heart beat.

Take the time before conceiving or in the early part of your pregnancy to find the best doctor for you. Ask them your questions and share your concerns up front. Find out what their philosophy is for kick counts, viewing the cord with ultra sound to identify cord issues, how they would care for you if there was a cord issue found, and would they induce or deliver early if there was cord compression causing severe fetal stress. Don't take for granted that they know everything and share similar thoughts as you do on how to address complications. If you have a doctor that you are already comfortable with and feel it would be difficult to transfer to another, then at least provide them with this information and the Pregnancy Institute's free downloadable literature called the Umbilical Cord Accident 2002 Abstract and Silent Risk. See if they are open to this and willing to learn more. If you have a doctor who already feels they know everything and there is not anything out there they don't already know....then you would do well to find a better doctor for you and your baby.

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Written by Candy McVicar

Provided by Candy & Steve McVicar in memory of daughter Grace, who was stillborn on December 20, 2001. Grace's death was preventable. Had our doctors acted on the information in this top 10 she would be with us today, alive & well. If your doctor does not take you seriously when you raise questions of concern, find one who will, & persist until a doctor takes the time to listen & act on your requests to be monitored & examined. Stay proactive in your prenatal care. Pay attention to your baby, do your daily charting of baby's kick counts, & stay persistent with those providing your medical care!!

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