Reposted after my letter was printed in the paper’s Saturday Free for All section, April 15, 2016.
In Eli Saslow’s otherwise moving and illuminating piece, “We Don’t Know Why It Came to This,” he referred to a woman who had lost a baby to “miscarriage in third trimester.” If Kaitlin was in fact in the third trimester, she would have given birth to a dead baby—otherwise known as stillbirth, defined in the U.S. as the death of a fetus in utero at 20 or more completed gestational weeks.
In the U.S. alone, 26,000 babies are stillborn every year. That’s one in every 160 pregnancies. Stillbirth happens to women of all incomes and health categories, including those with healthy living children and no known pregnancy risk factors. Almost 50 percent of all stillbirths occur at or near full term, and the babies appear to be otherwise healthy.
Proper usage of the terminology, including in the flagship newspaper of our nation’s capital, is necessary to raise the awareness needed if we are to prevent the tragedy that will strike more than 100 American families today and every day.
Mom to Zoe, age 3, and Luke, stillborn Aug. 21, 2015 at 37 weeks gestational age following a seemingly normal pregnancy