Which place is worse for the birth

Silent birth: when the birth is also a farewell

For parents who find out about the loss of their child, it is often initially inconceivable how they can cope with the unmanageable, difficult path that now lies ahead of them. If you can take your time, you will be able to act again step by step.

To take time

If the parents have found out that their child has already died or will soon die, the desire for a "quick release" from the stressful situation is often great. Immediate childbirth or a caesarean section may appear to be the only possible solution. However, it is advisable not to rush anything, to carefully reconsider the decision and to weigh it up with your midwife or doctor.
A separation from the child that is carried out too quickly can make it difficult for parents to say goodbye internally and stress them later. Following the natural course of things and waiting for the birth may make it easier for them to keep up with the event mentally and to give space to their grief. Perhaps there is still time to get in the mood for the birth and the farewell. The couple can think about how they would like to cope with this particular task and challenge and what could best help them with it.
Even a birth, which also means a farewell, can be a deep and unforgettable experience.

Initiate the birth or wait?

Usually, from a medical point of view, it is possible to wait for labor to begin naturally, even if the unborn child is no longer alive. This can take several days, depending on the degree of maturity of the pregnancy, rarely two weeks or longer. During this time, it is important to have intensive support from your midwife or doctor. As long as the accompanying examinations remain normal and there are no special signs such as bleeding, waiting does not pose a health risk to the mother.

Even the deceased child poses no danger to the pregnant woman. The widespread concern about "corpse poison" is unfounded. As long as the pericarp is intact, the child and the amniotic fluid are germ-free. Even when the dead child is born, its tissue does not contain any disease-causing bacteria - unless it has had a serious infection. If, after waiting for a long time (from three to four weeks), labor does not start by itself, it should be ensured that the mother's blood clotting is not impaired.

The birth processes and the formation of the associated hormones and the body's own pain-relieving substances are controlled by the mother's brain. The nervous system is always closely linked to mental processes. Body and soul work hand in hand: The physical processes during childbirth can make it easier for the soul to say goodbye.

Other women and couples still opt for drug induction. If the birth is induced with medication immediately after the sad diagnosis, the artificial labor hormones often hit a uterus that is not yet ready for the birth at this point in time. During this time the body is still prepared to hold and protect the unborn child. It is therefore not always easy to use artificial hormones to induce contractions that will soon be effective in childbirth. Despite noticeable labor, it can sometimes take up to several days before the cervix is ​​ready to open. Sometimes you have to try again at a later point in time.

Can the “silent birth” take place as painlessly as possible?

If the emotional pain is already excessive, the desire for a birth that is as pain-free as possible is often particularly urgent. Sufficient pain relief is provided in the clinic; strong local anesthesia (epidural anesthesia) is usually offered. If the woman does not want this, she can request other forms of pain relief at any time during the birth.

If the birth takes place in a safe and harmonious atmosphere and the woman has trusted people and a sensitive obstetrics team by her side, it may also be possible to cope with the birth without painkillers. Feeling the labor pains and the pains of childbirth physically can make it easier for the soul to say goodbye.

Why isn't a caesarean section always done when the child is dead?

Even if the caesarean section is now much safer than it used to be, it carries a higher risk for the mother than a natural birth. The possible consequences for a new pregnancy and childbirth should not be underestimated either.

The anesthesia during the operation makes the birth itself painless, but wound pain is to be expected in the days after the abdominal incision. In addition to the emotional pain caused by the loss of the child, there are also physical impairments as a result of the intervention.

Bringing the child into the world step by step with each contraction on their own makes the farewell "tangible" for many mothers. Even with all the pain of parting, it can fill the parents with joy and pride to cope with this birth and actively receive the child.

Is a home birth possible?

Birth at home or in a birthing center is generally possible, provided it is professionally supervised and there are no special health restrictions.

Continuous support from a midwife often opens up greater scope for responding to the couple's personal wishes. In the case of a home birth, it is usually easier to greet and say goodbye to the baby together with the siblings and other close people. The intimacy within their own four walls helps some families to design and cope with this special birth and the farewell to the child as personally as possible.

If the baby is born alive but has only a short life span, it is important that the midwife or doctor is prepared to accompany it as it dies. However, the security and love of the parents is the most important help for the dying child.

Consciously shape the farewell

A “silent birth” and the early farewell to their child will remain unforgettable for most parents. Many feel connected to the dead child for a long time. Consciously shaping the farewell can help to make the loss understandable and to gain new courage. If medical conditions leave enough time, parents can think about what they want for this particular birth and discuss this with their midwife and doctor. You can decide where the baby will be born and who you want to have with you when it is born. If it is already certain that the baby will be born dead or die immediately after birth, the couple can consider whether they would like to prepare a farewell ritual.

Accompany the dying baby

When parents learn that their baby has very little prospect of life outside of the womb, they can prepare to share his short life with him. These few moments or hours together are precious times. Even before the birth, the parents can agree with the obstetrics team and the pediatrician about how to proceed with terminal care after the birth. It makes sense to record this in the birth records. So that the child can die without suffering, the most important prerequisite is that it experiences peace and security and is not disturbed or frightened. In this way, the baby can feel the calming, loving warmth and closeness of its parents. Maybe it can even drink a little breast milk. If necessary, the doctor can help the child with pain relievers or breathing assistance.

Meet the dead baby

If their baby is born dead, it may take some time for parents to open up to meeting them and to want to hug them. Many parents have never seen a dead person before. You may be afraid of how your child will look and feel overwhelmed. What will possible malformations look like or how has its skin changed if it died a few days before it was born? The obstetricians will prepare you for this, will be by your side at this moment and will look at the child with you when they are ready. In addition to all sorrow, parents often experience moments of happiness at this encounter. You can see who your child is. If you haven't already given it a name, you may be doing it right now. Perhaps they will discover its very own beauty and, in spite of everything, find it a miracle and enrichment that it has developed so far and that they have gone on their way with it.