BETHESDA, Md. (CBSDC) – New research indicates that women who experience extreme amounts of stress in the year leading up to their pregnancy – or during it – are at a higher risk of having a stillbirth.

The study, conducted through the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., found that 83 percent of women who suffered from a stillbirth had experienced a traumatic or stressful event not long before or after conception.

A stillbirth involves the death of a fetus at or after 20 weeks of gestation, according to Science Daily.

“We documented how significant stressors are highly prevalent in pregnant women’s lives,” study co-author Dr. Marian Willinger, acting chief of an NIH entity, Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was quoted as saying by Science Daily.

Events described by the 2,000 women who participated in a survey as part of the study included job loss or a death in the family.

Researchers involved in the study, which was also reportedly funded by the NIH Office of Research in Women’s Health, also found a relationship between a higher number of stressful live events and a higher risk of stillbirths, the website learned.

Willinger noted, “This reinforces the need for health care providers to ask expectant mothers about what is going on in their lives, monitor stressful life events and to offer support as part of prenatal care.”

The number of stillbirths in America is not said to be insignificant – the National Center for Health Statistics allegedly found that, for ever 167 births in 2006, one of them was a stillbirth.


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