NEW YORK — Every year, more than 20,000 pregnancies nationwide result in stillbirth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a first of its kind clinic is opening in Manhattan for women and families who have experienced this heartbreaking tragedy.
For Marny Smith and her husband Michael, one-year-old Zosia is the light of their life. They suffered unfathomable loss on the journey to parenthood. In 2019, their son Heath was stillborn at nearly 37 weeks.
“We were completely shattered, devastated,” Smith said. “You know, it’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. And with the flip of a switch, it turns into a nightmare.”
Smith said when she was pregnant with Zosia, her anxiety was the biggest challenge.
The Mount Sinai Rainbow Clinic is offering support for women and their families.
“It really is addressing not only the medical needs of the patient but also the emotional needs,” says Dr. Joanne Stone with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
The Mount Sinai Rainbow Clinic is a collaboration with the group “PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy”. Dr. Stone says the goal is to provide state of the art care and psychological support for women during future pregnancies to help reduce fear and anxiety, and also to prevent another loss.
“To investigate as thoroughly as possible the causes of stillbirth. In the case of unexplained, we sort of outline a plan that really involves much closer surveillance. We have tests, ultrasound ways of monitoring the fetus,” Dr. Stone says.
Smith said talking with other parents who went through the same loss also really helped.
“Hearing that I was not alone was everything because stillbirth is not something that’s talked about,” Smith said.
She wears a necklace to remember Heath, and the family grows morning glory flowers to mark his birth month.
Research shows more than a quarter of stillbirths in the U.S. are preventable with increased awareness, support, and high-quality care.
The Rainbow Clinic model started in the U.K. and Mount Sinai says it hopes more health care centers will establish clinics to reduce stillbirths.