By Emily Price, Chief Executive Officer, Healthy Birth Day, Inc.
While miscarriage is usually defined as the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy, stillbirth is commonly defined as the loss of a baby at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The latest stillbirth data from the CDC shows that the overall rate of stillbirth in the U.S. remains relatively stagnant — but three headlines have emerged about the racial disparities that persist in birth outcomes. The 2020 and preliminary 2021 fetal death data show the following:
- Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander expectant parents are now at greatest risk of enduring the tragedy of stillbirth compared to all other races.
- The stillbirth rate for Black pregnancies is the second highest and remains relatively unchanged.
- The stillbirth rate for American Indian or Alaska Native pregnancies is on the rise. For these populations, 1 out of every 128 pregnancies ends in stillbirth.
Based on the most recent 5-year average from the CDC, 1 in every 173 U.S. pregnancies ends in stillbirth. The U.S. ranks 27th out of 49 high-income countries for the rate of stillbirth. Moreover, our annual rate of stillbirth reduction is only trickling down by .5 percent, a much slower rate of improvement than other high-income countries are experiencing. We have solutions to save babies now, and it is time for the U.S. to make stillbirth prevention a priority.
Our Work on Stillbirth Prevention Initiatives
Healthy Birth Day, Inc., the 501©(3) nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention program, is working to:
- Elevate the national conversation on stillbirth with the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP)
- Address the racial disparities that persist in birth outcomes
- Advocate for urgently needed stillbirth prevention legislation and funding that could help prevent thousands of families from experiencing the tragedy of stillbirth.
Healthy Birth Day, Inc., is elevating the conversation on stillbirth prevention in 2023 through its support and endorsement on stillbirth prevention legislation, educational resources and webinars, and presentation at the AMCHP annual conference.
Stillbirth Prevention Legislation
The Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act and Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education (SHINE) for Autumn Act are two pieces of stillbirth prevention legislation that can achieve life-saving results. Both bills were introduced in Congress in 2022. The Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act is expected to be reintroduced in early 2023. This is a critical piece of legislation that would add and expand the scope of the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to include research and activities to prevent stillbirth — a topic that has been omitted since Title V funding was introduced in 1935.
The SHINE for Autumn Act would authorize critical resources for state health departments, the CDC, and other federal agencies to improve stillbirth data collection, awareness, research, and education. Healthy Birth Day, Inc., is proud to be an endorsing organization for the SHINE for Autumn Act and the primary stakeholder of the Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act. Both bills were also supported by AMCHP last Congress.
These pieces of legislation each take important steps to make stillbirth prevention, funding, and research a priority in the U.S. Every voice who cares about maternal and child health matters, and can make a positive impact by supporting these pieces of legislation.
Black Maternal Health Week Webinar
The health of a mom and the health of her baby are closely connected. According to one study, more than 15 percent of maternal deaths within 42 days of delivery occur in women who experienced a stillbirth. Evidence also shows that the risk of severe maternal morbidity is more than four times higher among stillbirth deliveries compared with live births.
On April 13, during Black Maternal Health Week, Healthy Birth Day, Inc., will host a webinar on Black maternal mortality and morbidity. Our panel of maternal health experts will explore the data on disparities in birth outcomes and discuss evidence-based solutions to improve maternal health and birth outcomes. Visit the Healthy Birth Day, Inc., website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information and details on how to attend.
Presentation at the AMCHP Conference 2023
The Healthy Birth Day, Inc., team is excited to join top maternal and child health leaders and thinkers at the AMCHP annual conference on May 6–9, 2023, as a conference sponsor and exhibitor. We invite you to stop by our booth to learn more about our evidence-based Count the Kicks program, which was recognized as an AMCHP best practice in 2021.
Emily Price, our chief executive officer, will present on how to implement Count the Kicks in your state. In addition, our organization, along with Louise Reiter from the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade, and Rosemary Fournier, fetal infant mortality review director at the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention, will present on “Compassionate Community-Centered Approaches to Stillbirth Prevention.” Official dates and times of each presentation will be announced closer to the date of the conference.
Join the Conversation
We encourage you to get involved in our organization’s efforts to elevate the conversation on stillbirth and improve outcomes for moms and babies in the U.S. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter and follow Healthy Birth Day, Inc., for regular updates on stillbirth prevention legislation, upcoming events, and the latest research on stillbirth prevention.
Emily Price is the CEO of Healthy Birth Day, Inc., which oversees the national expansion of the evidence-based Count the Kicks public health campaign that educates and empowers expectant parents to track their babies’ movements in the third trimester of pregnancy. The proven stillbirth prevention campaign helped lower Iowa’s stillbirth rate by 1 percent every three months for a decade, and within that, helped lower the stillbirth rate among African American women in Iowa by a promising 39 percent in the first five years. This major reduction happened while the rest of the country remained relatively stagnant. Price leads the vision of the campaign — with an overall goal of realizing a 32 percent stillbirth rate reduction in all 50 states, which would save 7,500 babies every year in the U.S.