Stillbirth - Topic Overview
Can stillbirth be prevented?
If you have lost a
baby, you may worry about a future pregnancy. But a stillbirth often happens
because of a one-time event. It doesn't mean that you won't go on to have a
Doctors often can do exams and tests to find out why
a stillbirth happened. They may examine the baby and the placenta. An
autopsy is sometimes done, if the parents want it, to
find the cause of death. Some parents find that this helps them by answering
their questions about what happened. And it may help find out if there is any
risk for a future pregnancy. A doctor also may test the parents to see if a
genetic problem may have led to the stillbirth.
You can't prevent
every problem. But some behaviors can increase the chance of a healthy baby.
Doctors encourage women to take care of themselves before they get pregnant and
during pregnancy. Eat a healthy diet that includes folic acid (especially
before you are pregnant and early in the pregnancy), and get regular exercise.
It's especially important to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Later in pregnancy, a doctor usually will ask a woman to keep track of
her baby's kicks and call right away if the baby is moving less than
How long should you wait before you try to get pregnant again?
Talk to your doctor about when he or she thinks you can
try to get pregnant again. Some doctors may suggest that women wait 2 or 3
months. Others may think it's best to wait longer. It depends on how quickly
your body heals and on what was done to help deliver the baby. For example, if
you had a C-section to deliver the baby, the uterus needs more time to
You also may want to make sure that you and your family are
emotionally ready to try again to get pregnant.