“At PGIMER, out of every 1000 infants, 62 die while still in their mother’s womb,’’ said Dr Bharti Sharma at a workshop on ‘Optimising In- Utero Health’, organised by Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at PGIMER Saturday.
“Stillbirths can be prevented with proper medical care during pregnancy. Stillbirth affects the mother, the families, health services, society and governments too. In most cases, mothers suffer from depression, which further increases the risk in next pregnancy,’’ said Dr Bharti.
Dr Vanita Suri of PGIMER told Newsline that there is always a risk in conceiving within a year of stillbirth. If there is some inherent cause, which could be genetic, then the risk of conceiving within a year of stillbirth increases even more. But if the cause of birth is mismanagement, the risk of stillbirth decreases.
“From the very beginning till the end of pregnancy, the mother-to-be should be properly supervised by a specialist obstetrician. It is not possible to prevent all stillbirths but we are aware of certain factors that increase the risk, and if one remains conscious of those factors, the number of such cases can be reduced,’’ she added. According to her, hypertension and diabetes are major causes of stillbirth. Others include, genetic defects, congenital malformations and fetal growth restriction.
“The number of stillbirths is more in poor families, which means that many of these cases happen due to lack of proper medical care,’’ said Dr Neelam Agarwal of PGIMER.
She added that if a pregnant woman realises that her baby is moving less than usual, she should not wait and must straightaway consult a doctor.
Dr Nandita Kakkar of PGI emphasised on the role of autopsy and placental examination in stillbirth. She said, “It is very important to do autopsy of each stillbirth as it gives an answer to many questions regarding why it happened, will it happen again and how it can be prevented.’’
She added that pregnant women must be provided hygienic food to avoid infection.
She said, ‘’Blurred vision, severe headache and swelling, could be signs of pre-eclampsia. Although pre-eclampsia is usually mild, in some pregnancies it can lead to life-threatening problems for mother and baby. Symptoms of pre-eclampsia include obvious swelling, especially of the hands and face or upper body, severe headache, sometimes accompanied with vomiting.”