October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. Something we talk a lot about and educate our expecting mothers about is miscarriage, but what about stillbirth? 1 in 160 pregnancies will result in stillbirth (Star Legacy). This is a higher percentage than you might think. One reason for that could be that there is much less awareness surrounding infant loss postpartum versus loss of pregnancy.
In 1988, US President Ronald Reagan declared October as a month to recognize pregnancy and infant loss to draw attention and support to the families that suffer from these tragedies everyday. Since that time, organizations like Star Legacy Foundation have taken strides to not only raise awareness, but also funds to support those affected by pregnancy or infant loss.
Another common cause of infant mortality is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. When a baby under 12 months dies in their sleep with no warning or reason, they will be classified as dying from SIDS. While SIDS is a mysterious disorder, medical professionals have determined that parents can take steps to lessen the chances that their child will die from SIDS. Some of these suggestions include having the baby sleep on his or her back, not putting any additional items into the crib with your baby (including blankets and stuffed animals), not smoking around your baby, and keeping the babies crib in or close to the parents’ room so the baby can be checked in on closely.
Through education and support, the hope is that families who have suffered pregnancy or infant loss will feel like they are not alone and that they have the power and freedom to share their story. Many resources exist to donate and learn more about these topics. For more information or donation opportunities, please see the links below.