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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 healthy baby.

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 before.

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 heal.

You also may want to make sure that you and your family are emotionally ready to try again to get pregnant.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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