Pregnancies ending in stillbirth are rare, but they do happen. One Reddit user shared her experience to help other moms-to-be know what signs to look for. 

By Rebecca Macatee
Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

February 22, 2019

Pregnancy can be a nerve-wracking time, and the last thing anyone wants to do is give moms-to-be another thing to worry about. But awareness can save lives, which is why one Reddit user is opening up about her tragic stillbirth experience.

On Thursday, a Reddit user by the name of TheSunshineProtocol shared a "PSA on movement in third trimester." In her heartbreaking post, she recapped going into labor at 41 weeks and being "clueless as to what to expect." When the midwife checked in with TheSunshineProtocol and asked about the baby's movement, she realized she "had been focused on getting through contractions [and] I couldn't remember when I felt him."

She went to the hospital "for a check," and an ultrasound confirmed there was no heartbeat. TheSunshineProtocol "was induced and he was born the next morning, 8lbs and perfect," she wrote. "No cause for his death."

This devastating loss was in 2017, and TheSunshineProtocol has "died and come back to life a few times" since then. "I've never suffered like this before," she wrote, "so it was a very long time until I started to feel an inkling off myself coming back."

TheSunshineProtocol, who is now happily pregnant with another baby boy, didn't share her heartbreaking experience to scare other moms-to-be. As she put it, "I want you all to keep an eye on your little one's movements in the third trimester. Find their cues for movement (warm tea, cold apple juice, etc) and have a plan for a check if you don't get the response you expect."

She also linked to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's page which states that stillbirths affect only one percent of all pregnancies in the United States. "The purpose for my post was to reach a wide audience with my story," wrote TheSunshineProtocol. "Statistics are with a group this size is that I might reach someone and have them consider going in for a check. Sadly, I am a statistic so it does happen. Just be aware and stay aware!"

There are many complex reasons why a baby might be stillborn, but as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, rarely are these deaths caused by something a woman did or did not do. This is often an unpreventable tragedy, but TheSunshineProtocol is right: If your baby stops moving, get things checked out right away.

Laura Riley, M.D., is a leading OB-GYN and the author of several books on pregnancy and delivery. As she wrote in You and Your Baby: Pregnancy, a week-by-week guide for mothers-to-be, "If you notice any significant decrease in your baby's activity—fewer than 10 movements in 2 hours is certainly cause for concern at this stage in your pregnancy—contact your provider immediately to see if you need a medical intervention to save your baby's life."

If the baby can't be saved, the devastating loss will undoubtedly be felt by the whole family. The grieving process is different for everyone, but bereavement counseling, therapy, and finding ways to memorialize the child have been helpful to many parents.

And for those who find themselves expecting again after experiencing a stillbirth, TheSunshineProtocol has some good advice. "Count the kicks but enjoy the ride, too," she wrote. "I've done my best to celebrate this pregnancy as much as I can. It's a magical time—pay attention but don't get caught up in the what-ifs—keep that vision you have of yourself holding your little one. That's what keeps me lifted."

 

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