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Maceration is a method used to estimate the time of fetal death through the signs that appear on the skin, from color to texture. Not only predicting, maceration is also often used to determine the cause of fetal death
A baby can be said to have died in the womb or a stillborn baby if the age of the fetus at the time of death has reached 20 weeks or more or has weighed more than 500 grams. This condition is different from miscarriage, which is when the age of the fetus in the womb is below 20 weeks.
Various Causes of Infant Death in the womb
Baby stillbirth or stillbirth can be caused by various things. One of the risk factors for causing a baby to die in the womb is interference with the placenta, the organ that connects the fetus to the mother.
The placenta functions to supply blood and nourish the fetus while in the womb. The presence of problems with the placenta can trigger fetal disorders, including impaired growth or fetal death.
In addition to disorders of the placenta, stillbirths can also be caused by the following conditions:
- Preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Bleeding, either before or during delivery
- History of diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, thyroid disorders, or obesity since before pregnancy
- Liver disorders during pregnancy
- Infections that affect the fetus
- Genetic abnormalities in the fetus
- placental abruption, which is the separation of the placenta from the uterus before the fetus is born
- The umbilical cord that slips to the bottom of the uterus and wraps around the fetus
To find out the exact cause of the baby's death, the doctor will usually perform a complete autopsy procedure. In the process, laboratory tests and examinations are carried out on the placenta and other tissues of the fetus.
If an autopsy procedure is not possible, external examination procedures on the fetus, including maceration, can be used to estimate the time of fetal death.
Examination for physical changes in stillborn fetuses can help doctors estimate the time of fetal death, although they cannot pinpoint the exact time of death.
Maceration to Determine Time of Fetal Death
There are several physical signs that can appear in stillborn fetuses and can be used as a reference in maceration procedures, including:
- The red color of the skin on the fetus indicates that the fetus has died in less than 8 hours
- Skin peeling on the fetus indicates that the fetus has been dead for at least more than 8 hours
- If there is extensive exfoliation of the skin, for example on two or more limbs, it is estimated that the fetus has been dead for 2–7 days
- The skin color of the fetus is yellow-brown or the fetus looks like a mummy, indicating that the fetus has been dead for more than 8 days
Maceration can help doctors to estimate the time of fetal death. However, to determine the exact time of death of the baby in the womb, it is still necessary to use more accurate examination methods, such as ultrasound or cardiotocography to detect the fetal heart rate.
Those are the things you need to know about maceration. If you are pregnant and experience signs of a stillbirth, for example, you no longer feel the fetus moving, immediately consult a doctor to monitor the condition of the pregnancy and fetus.
If it is confirmed that the fetus died in the womb, the doctor will induce labor through drugs or wait for labor to occur naturally.