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Intrauterine Fetal Demise


Intrauterine fetal demise is the loss of a fetus (unborn baby). It is also called stillbirth or fetal death. Stillbirth occurs when a woman is 20 or more weeks pregnant.



  • Antibiotics: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better sooner.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your caregiver if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for a follow-up visit in 6 weeks to review test results. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Coping after stillbirth:

You and those around you may feel sad, helpless, guilty, or angry. The following may help you and others cope after a stillbirth:

  • Talk about your experience: It may help you to talk to someone about your feelings. Talk to your primary healthcare provider. He may be able to help you understand what happened. Talk with a family member, friend, or someone you trust. You may also want to join a support group. This is a group of people who have also had a stillbirth.
  • Give yourself time to grieve: Allow yourself and others time to mourn the loss of your baby. Deep sadness is common after a stillbirth. Talk to your primary healthcare provider if you or those around you are having trouble coping. Counseling (talk therapy) may be helpful.

What you should know about your ability to have children in the future:

You are at a higher risk of having another stillbirth. Caregivers will work with you to plan future pregnancies. You may need tests during the pregnancy to check your unborn baby's health. The following are things that you can do before and during your next pregnancy to stay healthy:

  • Manage health conditions: Manage health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clotting problems.
  • Quit smoking: Ask for help if you are having trouble quitting.
  • Reach a healthy weight: If you are overweight, reach a healthy weight before you become pregnant again. Ask for more information on how to lose weight safely.
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle: Do not drink alcohol while you are pregnant. Do not use street drugs.

For more information:

  • March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
    White Plains , NY 10605
    Web Address:

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have nausea and vomiting that does not go away within 6 hours.
  • You have diarrhea that does not go away within 1 day of your labor induction.
  • You have abdominal cramps that do not decrease or go away after you take NSAID medicine.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You are bleeding heavily.
  • You feel sick, are vomiting, and have diarrhea or abdominal pain.
  • You feel less or no movement of the other baby or babies you are carrying.
  • You are depressed and feel like you cannot cope with what has happened.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Intrauterine Fetal Demise (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes