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Why did my baby die immediately after birth?

Q: I delivered a baby after 9 months and 10 days of pregnancy last year. Everything went normal right from the first day till the date of delivery. There were no problems during pregnancy. But the problem started just after birth, which was a normal delivery. The baby expired after 10-15 minutes, although the doctor is maintaining that they took proper care of the baby. Yet they are not telling me the exact problem of the death. What could be the reason behind it and what should I do to prevent it in future?

A:I am extremely sorry to learn of this and can quite understand your distress as you attempt to cope with the loss. The exact cause of death can be known only by an autopsy but this is often not feasible. Among the common causes are - prematurity, low birth weight, birth asphyxia and neonatal sepsis, along with birth injury, congenital malformation, neonatal pneumonia, postnatal aspiration, respiratory distress syndrome, etc The most common cause of neonatal death is birth defects with heart defects being the commonest. Small, underdeveloped lungs and chromosomal abnormalities too contribute to this. Your neonatologist will be best placed to answer this so you need to discuss with the doctor. There is often no way to prevent such mishaps if the cause is not known. If you have no medical problem, you do not need to take any special precaution. Avoid pregnancy for at least 6-9 months to allow the body to recover. Take a healthy well-balanced diet, regular exercise and continue your normal routine. Though it can be hard to pick up with work and previous interests, because inside things are never the same again, it is often a relief to be distracted from thoughts of what has happened. Talking to family members and friends helps. All the best.

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