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October is Stillbirth Prevention Month

Every year in the U.S. 24,000 babies are born still, according to the CDC. That means a baby is born still every 22 minutes. Data also shows that a disproportionate number of babies are born still to Non-Hispanic Black mothers.

This month use the KDHE Action Alert Toolkit to raise awareness about ways to reduce stillbirth, such as with the Count the Kicks app, and reduce disparities in stillbirth.

View the full action alert PDF and share the Did you Know? PDF and Social Media Graphic!

Social Media Graphic

Disparities in Stillbirth

The stillbirth rate varied by race/ethnicity. In 2014-2018, there were 138 stillbirths to Non-Hispanic Black mothers (10.8 stillbirths per 1,000 live births plus stillbirths). This was more than twice the rate among the NonHispanic White population (4.8 stillbirths per 1,000 live births plus stillbirths). The leading cause of fetal death among the Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic White populations was complications of placenta, cord and membranes.

Ways to Reduce Disparities in Stillbirth:

  • Improve access to critical services (eliminate maternity care deserts, offer tools for vulnerable populations to navigate the health care system such as care coordination).
  • Train providers to address racism and build a more diverse workforce. Work to reduce healthcare provider bias, as well as other systemic barriers which contribute to racial and socioeconomic disparities in birth outcomes
  • Complete comprehensive screenings during healthcare visits, to include pregnancy intention (One Key Question), sexually transmitted infections, tobacco use, substance use, immunization status, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, social determinants of health, intimate partner violence and other risk factors. Provide brief interventions and referral to care when applicable.
  • Invest in and expand access to policies and programs that support families' basic needs.
  • Invest in and expand access to home visiting programs

More Ways to Reduce Stillbirth

  • Address maternal mental health (identify barriers to accessing maternal mental health services, screen and address maternal mental health).
  • Educate patients/mothers about the importance of:
    • Abstaining from nicotine, alcohol and other substances.
    • Accessing prenatal care and education early.
    • Completing all prenatal care visits/checkups recommended by their health care professional.
    • Scheduling regular check-ups with a dental provider (before, during and after pregnancy).
    • Spacing children at least 18 months apart and referring for contraception as needed.
  • Taking control of their own health by:
    • Accessing vital supports such as food, shelter, transportation and others as needed.
    • Developing personal health and reproductive life plans (One Key Question®)
    • Knowing personal health and pregnancy history (ask provider about any potential risks).
    • Eating nutritious meals and snacks and engaging in daily physical activity as recommended.
    • Supplementing a healthy diet with vitamin supplements including folic acid.
    • Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
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