Mothers must heal physically and psychologically from the first stillbirth before conceiving again

September 19, 2017

The study used data linking three medical records referencing birth certificates, hospitalization, and outpatient health care encounter files using each member??s unique medical record number. The researchers evaluated the relationship between stillbirth and ischemic placental diseases (IPDs) defined as the occurrence of any one or more of the following closely related conditions: pre-eclampsia, small-for-gestational age, and placental abruption, as well as other adverse perinatal and neonatal outcomes such as fetal distress, chorioamnionitis, spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB) and neonatal mortality in subsequent pregnancies. Their findings show that a first pregnancy which resulted in stillbirth was associated with increased risk of IPD, fetal distress, chorioamnionitis, and neonatal mortality in the second pregnancy, compared to a pregnancy that resulted in live birth. A stillbirth in the first pregnancy was also associated with an increased risk of SPTB and stillbirth in the second pregnancy, an observation that is consistent with the findings of previous studies.

???When it comes to healthy pregnancies, it appears that early initiation of prenatal care is the key to lowering the risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancies,??? said the study??s lead author Darios Getahun, MD, MPH, and researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, CA. He explained that early initiation and consistent treatment of hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition, bacterial infections and other pre-existing health problems before conception and during the pregnancy may help reduce stillbirth incidences. ???It is also critical for the mother to take time to physically and psychologically heal from the first stillbirth before conceiving again,??? said Getahun who plans to continue this study.