According to the latest reports and studies of researchers all around the world, the new threat has been detected to human mankind – STILLBIRTH. It refers to the death of a baby after 28 weeks of pregnancy but before or during birth.
Recent studies show the alarming trend of stillbirths. Every 16 seconds, a stillbirth takes place which makes up to 2.6 million every year. Around 98% of stillbirths occur in lower to middle-income countries. According to the latest report published by The Lancet Global Health, the stillbirth rate has been increased by almost 50% from 14 per 1000 in March to 21 per thousand by the beginning of June 2020. The reason can be traced back to the global lockdown imposed by the countries due to the Covid pandemic on the rise.
According to Ashish K.C, a perinatal epidemiologist, Covid 19 is not the primary cause of the rise in stillbirth but it is the lifestyle and routine change due to pandemic and lockdown which affected the antenatal care. People avoided traveling and canceled sessions with the doctors during the period. Poor-quality medicines and negligence can also be blamed for the rising rate of stillbirth. A horrendous incident has been reported recently where a pregnant lady and her baby lost their lives in an ambulance due to chaos caused by the Thailand protests. Infections, Lupus and Trauma are other major causes of stillbirth. Complications with the placenta also increase the risk.
Astounding progress has been made in the last two decades, which declined the stillbirth rate from 21.4 per thousand in 2000 to 13.9 in 2019 which is almost 35% reduction. More ambitiously if in high income countries the stillbirth rate decreases to 3 per thousand by 2030 then almost 6.6 million lives can be saved. Every Newborn Action Plan ( ENAP ) endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2014 has set the target to reduce stillbirth to 12 or fewer per thousand globally by 2030. WHO recommends antenatal care for the sound health of mother and baby. Sleeping on either side left or right increases blood circulation and reduces the risk of the disease. Experts suggest proper diet and avoiding alcohol and smoking during pregnancy can help us achieve the target.