When I was pregnant with my second child, a girl, I started feeling at 37 weeks gestation that she wasn’t moving as usual in my belly. But I wasn’t sure and I thought that it was only my imagination. I started getting worried after a few days and I finally talked to my doctor, who replied that it was normal. Two days after, her heart had stopped beating. I delivered her the next day at 38 weeks gestation.
“I advocate mainly so that other parents do not have to live through the same thing I did. No one should live through the death of their baby if that death can be avoided. And it’s precisely because a high percentage of stillbirths can be avoided that I advocate.”
First of all, parents need to be better informed of the risks of stillbirth and of the means to reduce those risks. For example, it is not normal for a baby to move less at the end of a pregnancy. It’s a myth. Movement reduction in a baby is often an indicator of distress. One of the means used to reduce the risks of stillbirth is to count your baby’s movements daily during the third trimester of pregnancy and to consult a healthcare professional immediately if you notice a change in your baby’s usual movement pattern. I believe that, if I had had that information in hand during my pregnancy, my daughter could have been saved. The BabyKicks.ca website aims to fill that void of information on the subject.
Secondly, I believe the federal government has a role to play in the prevention of stillbirths in Canada. Indeed, other countries such as England, Scotland, Australia and the Netherlands have put in place national action plans that have successfully reduced their stillbirth rate by 20% to 50%. For Canada, a reduction of stillbirths by 30% would save 1,000 babies from death each year. That represents 1,000 families who won’t have to live through the trauma of a stillbirth and its physical, psychological and economical consequences that can persist a whole life time. Reducing stillbirths protects our families. That’s why I co-founded the Canadian Collaborative for Stillbirth Prevention.
Finally, I believe it’s important to raise our voices as parents who have lived through a perinatal loss, or even multiple losses, in order to highlight this public health issue too often invisible and even taboo. That’s why I take every opportunity to speak. If you understand French, I invite you to listen to my most recent radio interview on Unique FM: 3000 mortinaissances par année au Canada. You can also read the first article I wrote on the subject: Stillbirth in Canada: A Call to Action.
Don’t hesitate to support my efforts, especially for the upkeep of the BabyKicks.ca and BébéBouge.ca websites, for which I pay a few hundred dollars every year in order to offer you an agreeable experience. If you contribute at least $5 to my Go Fund Me campaign, I’ll personalize a background screen for your cell phone on the holiday theme to thank you for your generosity. You’ll find more information on this on my Facebook and Instagram pages. Or contact me by email at email@example.com