Saving Our Babies: Reducing Preventable Stillbirth in the U.S

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Star Legacy Foundation volunteer, Marny Smith, has created a fundraiser in honor of her son, Heath, who was stillborn one year ago. Her goal is to bring proven stillbirth protocols to the US and to save other families from the devastation of losing a child. Please donate to honor all the children who should still be with us and to move the needle forward on stillbirth prevention.

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I can no longer accept.” — Angela Davis

Today, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 my son, Heath, should be turning 1. But he never got that chance. Just weeks before Heath’s due date, my husband, Michael, and I were told his heart had stopped beating, and there was nothing we could do about it. Our previously healthy baby was dead. He was born — perfect, beautiful, and devastatingly still — to a silent delivery room. He never took a first breath, and that is why I am appealing to you today instead of celebrating his first birthday.

Heath was one of the 25,000 babies stillborn in the US every year. That’s 1 in 160 pregnancies. It’s 70 babies dying every day. That’s more deaths than SIDS, prematurity, flu, guns, poison, and fire combined. THIS NUMBER HAS NOT CHANGED IN 50 YEARS. It’s important to know that current efforts to prevent infant deaths do not include stillbirths.

Though stillbirth cuts across all socioeconomic classes, races, and maternal age groups — this devastating health crisis is hitting Black mothers the hardest. Due to racism, misogyny, and indifference, Black women in the US are 2-3 times more likely to experience a stillbirth.

I am working closely with the Star Legacy Foundation (SLF), to spearhead a Learning Network/Collaborative to implement proven Scottish NHS stillbirth prevention protocols in the US. Our goal is to reduce the rate of stillbirth by 15% for 20-30 healthcare systems. At least 50% of these health systems will be serving predominantly Black patients.

NHS protocols have already reduced the stillbirth rate in Scotland by an astounding 23%, resulting in hundreds of living babies going home with their families that otherwise would not have. If we succeed, we will push for hospitals across the US to adopt these protocols.

We are pursuing this initiative with Ariadne Labs, the joint health systems innovation center between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Please help me to honor Heath and to save families from the devastation of losing a child.



Check if your company will match your donation by visiting: If it does, use the code AriadneLabs to designate that the funds you donate will be earmarked for this program. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

More info on Scotland’s success reducing stillbirth in this powerful and moving video from Dr. Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer of Scotland:

Want to know more or see the full scope of work and document for this program? Email: [email protected]

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