The Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), is proud to participate in and promote the Lancet Series on Stillbirth that was released today. This series is an opportunity to encourage policymakers, funders, researchers, and caregivers to action—to reduce preventable stillbirths, understand the causes underlying stillbirth, and ensure that every parent who has a stillborn infant receives supportive, compassionate care.
About half of all stillbirths—1.3 million—happen during labor and delivery. Most of those could be averted if each woman had access to high-quality care when delivering her baby. Organizations and governments need to commit to health systems strengthening to ensure safe deliveries.
But often there is no apparent reason for a stillbirth. To be able to prevent these stillbirths, experts must come together and define a research agenda that will expose the underlying causes and mechanisms of stillbirth so that prevention strategies can be developed. GAPPS is committed to work to convene those experts to define the research agenda.
Finally, every parent should receive sensitive and supportive care at the time of delivery and in the post-partum period. Parents around the world experience profound grief at the death of a child, whether before, during or after birth. All caregivers should be trained to provide the best possible psychological as well as physical care.
This is the time for all in the field of maternal, newborn and child health to include stillbirth as part of the discussion of improving the continuum of care for all mothers and infants. No parent should have to grieve for a child who dies before birth.