An incredibly extensive study has discovered that with each passing week after the 37-week mark of pregnancy, the risk of stillbirth increases.
Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare. Thankfully, for the vast majority of us, it is something that we will never have to go through. An unfathomable occurrence that we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy. However, there are some parents who have to face that horrible reality. In fact, in some cases, moms and dads lose their babies before they're even born.
Stillbirths are one of those things you hope and pray will never happen to you. However, there are more than 3000 stillborn babies in the UK every year according to The Herald. Naturally, any way in which we can lower that figure is being desperately sought after. A major study undertaken by researchers at Queen Mary University of London is attempting to do that.
The massive study incorporated information from more than 15 million pregnancies across four different countries. Of those pregnancies, almost 18,000 of them were stillbirths. What the researchers discovered was that with each passing week after a pregnant woman's 37-week gestation period, the risk of her baby being stillborn increased. Not by a massive amount, but the correlation was definitely there.
Although the increase was there, it has been stressed that the rise was minimal. Women whose pregnancies carried on into week 41 accounted for one extra stillbirth in every 1449 pregnancies compared to those who gave birth in week 40. The aim of the research is not to change anything necessarily, but to make sure women are informed of the risk. That if they choose not to be induced, the risk of the baby being stillborn increases slightly.
The study also attempted to discover a link between the week of pregnancy during which babies are born and infant death within 28 days of birth. To find that link, they had to include pregnancies that went into their 42nd week, and the findings were worrying. Neonatal deaths were 87% more common among babies born after 42 weeks compared to those born after 41. That is a stat that cannot be ignored.