The Trauma of Stillbirths: A Midwife's Story

"A stillbirth always traumatizes all of us: the midwife who wants to help the mother to successfully give birth to her child, and the mother who carries the pregnancy for a long time only to hear that her child is dead. As midwife and a mother, it makes me feel very bad."

These are the words of Najjuma Kalule, a midwife in the Mityana District of Uganda. In Mityana Hospital where she works, 600 babies are born every month and of that number, between 10 and 20 are stillborn, with never a chance to take even a single breath.

"All midwives hate dealing with stillbirths," says Kalule, "because of the deep feeling of discouragement it gives us. Some midwives – especially the junior ones – tend to refer such cases to their seniors, since the process recommended for handling a stillbirth case is quite long and needs extra supervision of a mother, including choosing the right words to comfort the mother."