In 2019, my son, Heath, was one of the 25,000 babies stillborn in the US every year. This past, Monday, on Sept. 21st we should have been celebrating his first birthday.
1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. It’s 70 babies dying every day. That’s more deaths than SIDS, prematurity, flu, guns, poison, and fire combined. THIS NUMBER HAS NOT CHANGED IN 50 YEARS. It’s important to know that current efforts to prevent infant deaths do not include stillbirths.
Though stillbirth cuts across all socioeconomic classes, races, and maternal age groups — this devastating health crisis is hitting black mothers the hardest. Due to racism, misogyny, and indifference, black women in the US are 2-3 times more likely to experience a stillbirth.
I am working closely with the Star Legacy Foundation (SLF), to spearhead a Learning Network/Collaborative to implement proven Scottish NHS stillbirth prevention protocols in the US. Our goal is to reduce the rate of stillbirth by 15% for 20-30 healthcare systems. At least 50% of these health systems will be serving predominantly black patients.
NHS protocols have already reduced the stillbirth rate in Scotland by an astounding 23%, resulting in hundreds of living babies going home with their families that otherwise would not have. If we succeed, we will push for hospitals across the US to adopt these protocols.
If anyone is interested in learning more and/or supporting this initiative, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Thank you, Marny Smith