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Why has the United States not reduced stillbirths?

November 14, 2022

As many as 25% of stillbirths may be preventable.


According to the CDC, with around 21,000 deaths in 2020, stillbirths claimed more children’s lives than car accidents, drowning, fire, flu, guns, listeria, poison, and sudden infant death syndrome combined. A 2018 study published by Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that almost 25% of stillbirths may be preventable. As many as half of women detect a decrease in movement and kicks before a stillbirth, but one doctor described education on fetal movement and stillbirth prevention as a “massive hole” in obstetrics. Some experts also think such a decrease should be taken more seriously by health care providers.


Despite the shocking statistics, the U.S. is the only wealthy country that doesn’t have a national system to report and investigate stillbirths, although newly-introduced legislation may help. In March 2022, the Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education for Autumn Act, or SHINE was introduced in the Senate. If passed, the legislation — which previously passed in the House in December 2021 — would authorize grants to develop programs that may help save some of these babies.

Countries that have focused on stillbirth education and prevention have better outcomes. In 2019 in Australia, some maternity care providers implemented prevention programs and reported a 21 percent reduction in stillbirths. The United Kingdom launched a similar program and in just 2 years saw a 20 percent drop in stillbirths. What can you do? While many stillbirths can’t be prevented, for those cases where something can be done – make sure to discuss tracking fetal movements with your doctor, do your kick counts, and make sure your doctor checks out your baby carefully if you report decreased movements!

If you reported decreased fetal movements and believe your military doctor failed to take proper action to prevent your stillbirth, we can help. You may e-mail us at LawHelp@MilitaryMedicalMalpractice.com, call us at 877-695-8757 (24/7), fill out the contact form on the right side of this page, or live chat with us on the web site.  Free, confidential consultations.  There is no fee unless we get a recovery for you.

Finally, please consider contacting your Senators and ask for their support of SHINE to help reduce the number of stillbirths.

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