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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are there any signs or symptoms of a stillbirth?

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  • Dr Gary Sykes


    Dr Gary Sykes is a graduate Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B, B.S.) from Sydney University. He commenced his initial postgraduate training at … View Profile

    A very sad and curious question.

    It is usually lack of foetal movement that is the first sign.

    I recently had a patient at 32 weeks pregnancy attending a routine antenatal class at the hospital where she mentioned to the midwife doing the class she had not felt her baby move for 2 days. She was sent to the birth unit where foetal death in utero was diagnosed.

    I advise my patients that they should be aware of at least 10 moments in 12 hours after about 26 weeks pregnancy. If less than this or they notice a sudden reduction in foetal movement despite focussing on baby movement they should contact the labour ward / birth unit staff so the baby’s wellbeing can be checked. This is easy to with a foetal heart monitor.

    In advanced pregnancy as the baby is cramped the baby movement is more rolling rather than actual kicking, but there should be at least 10 rolls in 12 hours.

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