Knowing that your baby has died in your womb before birth will be devastating to the mother and the family. The chances of it are 1 in 200 pregnancies. Though not always but there are around 50% chances of knowing why this has happened. Some of the reasons include,
- abnormal or poor development of the baby
- placenta separation
When a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks it is known as stillbirth. They will check for the baby’s heartbeat using the doppler device. It may also be followed by an ultrasound scan. Even after confirming that baby has died the mother may experience movement. This is because of the movement of the fluid in the womb when you move or change position.
After confirming death, when is the baby delivered?
There are two options
- Wait for normal labor to take place. In some cases, this may extend to two to three weeks.
- Induce labor, in this case, a medicine will be provided which will take around 48 hours to start labor.
You may go home and discuss which option you prefer to have. In certain cases, the doctor may suggest not delaying the labor for the following reasons that may put the mother’s life at risk –
- Serious infection
- Amniotic sac is broken.
Another reason to not delay labor is that once the baby has been delivered, they can try to identify the reason for death, and this can help in future pregnancies. As the labor is delayed, the chances of identifying the causes are greatly reduced. The doctor may suggest blood tests for you and your partner and sometimes chromosomal tests for the baby to identify the exact cause of the death of the baby.
How will the baby be delivered – vaginally or by Caesarean?
Doctors will mostly suggest having a vaginal delivery as this helps in faster recovery, lesser risks, and reduced complications for future pregnancies. But if you have had a caesarean in your previous delivery, the doctor will need to check your history and physical health before confirming the procedure to be followed.
What to expect and what care is required after the baby has been delivered?
Take care of yourself as you will be going through physical and emotional stress during this stage. Support from family is necessary.
- The body may produce breast milk which can be stressful and cause discomfort for the woman. Using ice packs will provide slight relief. Medicines will be provided to stop producing milk.
- You may be called for a check-up after a few weeks for a follow-up.
- As you will be having bleeding for another two weeks, use pads instead of tampons.
- Avoid sex for 4 to 6 weeks to give the body time to heal.
- Eat healthy food and take proper rest. Get some sleep.
- Family needs to keep an eye constantly on the patient for signs of depression. Some may also undergo post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you feel tough coping with issues consult with the doctor, and they will direct you on what can be done.
When should you contact your doctor?
- having constant pain in the abdomen
- bleeding becomes severe
- having high fever, shivering
- difficulty in breathing
- swelling in legs
- smelly vaginal discharge
For future pregnancies, do mention the previous history with your doctor. You will have to go for extra antenatal visits and will be under constant care.
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