Updated: Jun 19, 2021
This post was written by PUSH Changemaker Bobbie Cohlan as part of her "Changemaker Takeover" of PUSH's social media accounts the week of 6/14/21.
Why are 24,000 babies born still every year in the United States?
Why has this number not been lowered in the US when other countries have?
Why do people think stillborn babies are a thing of the past? Or only happen to those who don’t take care of themselves or have some genetic issue in their family?
Why do people think this can never happen to them?
Why do medical providers not mention stillbirth? Why do they think it is rare and nothing can be done about it "because these things just happen?"
Why do I spend time volunteering for PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy? So that we can cut the incidence of preventable stillbirth for all and no longer have to wonder WHY to all the above questions.
I talk about my grandson and other babies born still and volunteer my time to this important cause not to make people nervous or uncomfortable, but to make you aware, informed, and empowered. —Bobbie Cohlan
I have found that volunteering to make a difference and honoring the legacy of my grandson Oliver and all the babies born still has given me purpose and helped me to feel not only did Oliver matter, but he and I - along with my daughter and all of my family - can make things better for all families who are planning to be or are pregnant.
Studies have shown that volunteering your time to a cause can improve mental well-being and overall happiness. In a study commissioned by the UnitedHealth Group, the majority of survey participants reported feeling both physically and mentally healthier after a
volunteer experience, citing mood improvement, lower stress levels, and an enriched sense of purpose. I and many of the Changemakers on our team at PUSH have found this to be true for us as well, especially as we grieve the deaths of far too many beloved babies like Oliver.
But we (the families) cannot do it alone. We need to reach the medical providers that have been taught that “the stillbirth rate is what it is“ with facts and research. We need other medical providers and researchers who are already doing the right things to lower the incidence of stillbirth in their own practices to step forward and share their success to prove it can be done. We need to change old ways of thinking and push forward with these facts so that all medical providers know there *is* such a thing as preventable stillbirth.
Can we prevent all stillbirths? Probably not. But evidence shows that we can prevent and lower the incidence for many. We need those that are expecting or thinking about planning a family to become aware that losses can happen at anytime in pregnancy, not just in the first trimester. We need their medical providers to discuss this unlikely but very real possibility of stillbirth and how families can lower their risks. We need expectant parents to be explicitly told that they should be aware of changes to baby's movements, and whether those movements are weaker or lessened or even unusually wild, they need to get checked out immediately. We need to eradicate the frustratingly persistent myth that "babies slow down at the end of pregnancy" or "run out of room" - this is simply not true!
I talk about my grandson and other babies born still and volunteer my time to this important cause not to make people nervous or uncomfortable, but to make you aware, informed, and empowered.
Please, if you are a medical provider, an OB or MFM, an L&D nurse, a midwife, a mental health
counselor, a loss family, a pregnant mom, or anyone who cares about birth outcomes, we need your help to effect change and lower the incidence of stillbirth.
There *is* such a thing as preventable stillbirth. —Bobbie Cohlan
Stillbirth doesn’t just happen to other people, and it doesn't just happen "rarely." Sadly 70 families every single day in the US can attest to that - and we at PUSH are many of them.
There *is* something we can all do to prevent more stillbirths from happening. Let’s do it, together. #UnitedWePush