Utah Health Department launches unprecedented stillbirth study

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) — Many women who have had miscarriages or stillbirths don’t know why they happened.

The Utah Health Department has launched a study called SOARS: Study Of Associated Risk of Stillbirth, to get some answers. 

They reached out to moms here in Utah who have gone through such a loss before getting started.
Erin Anderson of Herriman thought everything was fine until delivery.

“Completely unexpected when they called it. It’s like shock, of course. I had a healthy pregnancy.”

Four years later, Erin still doesn’t have answers as to why she lost her baby Zoe.
Each year 275 stillbirths happen in Utah. 26,000 across the country every year. Doctors don’t know why they happen in half of those deaths.

“You’re carrying the baby, you feel completely responsible and you’re constantly asking yourself what did I do? Could I have prevented it?” said Erin. 

The Utah Health Department reached out to Erin and other mothers who are part of the pregnancy and infant loss group: Share Parents of Utah. 

The group helped formulate sensitive questions for grieving moms in a 65-question survey that will be mailed out to moms as early as two months after their loss. For one year all Utah women who experience a stillbirth will be contacted after June 1, 2018. 

“This is an opportunity to hear directly from women, their experiences before, during, and shortly after their deliveries to fill in the gaps where we are missing information about of why stillbirths happen,” said Nicole Stone with the Utah Department of Health.

“I understand how you’re feeling but being able to fill this out should help future moms that are going to have babies and prevent the cases of babies being stillborn or losing them in the womb,” said Erin. 

Utah is the only state that was granted funding by the CDC for this study. That’s because of the high rate of births and the expertise in fetal-maternal care.

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