This week on the Mommy Labor Nurse podcast, Lindsey Wimmer the founder and director of Star Legacy Foundation came on the show to talk about stillbirth and poor pregnancy outcomes.
Stillbirth, neonatal death, and pregnancy loss are difficult topics to discuss, but raising awareness, opening dialogue, and knowing where to find support are crucial for those experiencing these realities.
The Star Legacy Foundation does all of this and more!
In today’s episode, you’ll hear a little bit about Lindsey’s story, but more specifically we’ll dive into the ways that Star Legacy Foundation supports women who’ve experienced stillbirth and ways that you can find support, decrease your risk for stillbirth, and cope with pregnancy after a loss.
We’re so glad you’ve decided to tune in! Let’s take a look at what we discuss in this episode:
- About Lindsey and Star Legacy Foundation? (2:50)
- Realities of poor pregnancy outcomes and stillbirth in the US (7:39)
- Stillbirth risk factors and ways to decrease your risk for stillbirth (10:37)
- What sorts of testing are done if you experience stillbirth? (18:09)
- Mental health support after stillbirth (27:20)
- Pregnancy after a loss or stillbirth (28:24)
- How to stay connected with Star Legacy Foundation and find information on stillbirth?
- About Lindsey and Star Legacy Foundation
*I do want to give a little trigger warning disclaimer for today’s episode. I know that these topics can be triggering and difficult for some to listen to – so if this is you, please proceed with caution.*
About Lindsey and Star Legacy Foundation? (2:50)
“My name is Lindsey Wimmer, I live in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. It’s a suburb of Minneapolis. And I am the founder and executive director of Star Legacy Foundation, my family and I really kind of got into this work after the stillbirth of my first son, Garrett in 2004.”
Lindsey explains that after the fog of her own loss lifted, she began to look at the research surrounding stillbirth and couldn’t figure out why this happened so much in the United States.
What’s more, she noticed a huge problem with the fact that despite all of her work and education in the medical field she’d received little to no training and education surrounding stillbirth and neonatal death – and this is true across the board.
From this, Star Legacy was born. They decided to try to do what they could to promote research and education around stillbirth prevention and care. They’ve now expanded into lots of other family support and awareness and advocacy efforts as well.
A little more about what they do at Star Legacy Foundation (4:10)
Melissa explains that Star Legacy Foundation has programs that fall under the following five pillars:
- Research: In this facet, they are currently conducting the Pregnancy Research Project that is open to anyone who’s ever had a pregnancy loss or had a baby within the last five years regardless of the outcome. If you are interested in learning more about this and contributing the research, you can head here
- Education: Star Legacy Foundation does continuing education for health professionals all across the country regarding care, prevention, risk factors, and providing support to women experiencing stillbirth
- Awareness: They’re planning and hosting the Stillbirth Summit this summer, which is a conference that brings together researchers from around the world to share some of the most exciting and newest information available in stillbirth
- Advocacy: You’ll find a series of educational materials designed for families on the bereavement side and on the prenatal care and prevention side that are completely free to help support women and help you better advocate for yourself
- Family Support: There are a series of family support groups that are completely free and virtual for anyone who’s had a pregnancy loss or infant loss. There are groups for mothers, partners, grandparents, etc. They also have groups for people who are parenting other children after a loss, and a group for currently pregnant women who’ve experienced a past loss
Realities of poor pregnancy outcomes and stillbirth in the US (7:39)
In this part of the episode, Lindsey shares statistics and realities of the prevalence of stillbirth and neonatal death in the US.
She talks about the fact that we have 24,000 stillbirths every year here in the US – and that doesn’t even include losses before 20 weeks and later infancy deaths.
Tune in to hear more details!
Stillbirth risk factors and ways to decrease your risk for stillbirth (10:37)
There are many cases where the risk factors and occurrence of stillbirth cannot be controlled or even understood, but there some things that CAN be controlled, and Star Legacy Foundation wants to increase awareness of this.
In this part of the episode, Lindsey dives into what we know and what we don’t. She also talks about some specific ways and things you can do to decrease your risk for stillbirth. Some of these include:
- Getting quality prenatal care
- Following recommendations and guidelines for pregnancy screenings
- Making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, abstaining from drug and alcohol use
- Sleeping on your side once you’re in the third trimester
- Identifying pregnancy complications associated with poor pregnancy outcomes (such as preeclampsia) as early as possible
- Monitoring baby’s movements
In this part of the episode, she’ll also discuss non-modifiable risk factors such as family history and gives an in-depth explanation of kick counting/how to monitor baby’s movement effectively to help spot red flags that something might be up.
What sorts of testing are done if you experience stillbirth? (18:09)
Lindsey explains that when a mother experiences a stillbirth, she is often given options and is asked a TON of questions to help her decide what kind of testing she wants done to help figure out what happened to baby.
The big problem is that this is often asked and explained in a chaotic way during an extremely stressful event and others don’t really know what to opt for. Not to mention that many of these tests can be very, very expensive and aren’t covered by insurance.
Lindsey gives detailed information about various tests, the benefits to finding answers, potential drawbacks, and other options in this part of the episode.
Mental health support after stillbirth (27:20)
This is SUCH an important piece of the puzzle when we talk about stillbirth and finding support for these mamas. Lindsey talks about how Star Legacy Foundation can help with this on the side of the mothers but also in educating health care professionals to support mothers in this capacity.
Experiencing a stillbirth puts women at a higher risk for things like postpartum depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues. Lindsey explains that those challenges and risks continue for months and years after this type of loss and that health care professionals need to be mindful of these things.
Pregnancy after a loss or stillbirth (28:24)
In this part of the episode, Lindsey talks about the joy that a rainbow baby can bring to families but also about the strange, and conflicting emotions that many women feel when they’re pregnant and give birth after a stillbirth or neonatal death.
Talking about these conflicting emotions, normalizing that grief and joy can coexist, and rethinking the narrative that pregnancy is always a happy and joyous time are all beneficial for pregnant mamas who’ve experienced past losses.
How to stay connected with Star Legacy Foundation and find information on stillbirth?
We round out the episode with a recap of how to get in touch with the Star Legacy Foundation, where to find their resources, and learn more about their current research projects.
Here are links to some of the things discussed in the episode:
- Star Legacy Foundation website
- Star Legacy Foundation support groups
- Covid-19 and Pregnancy research study
- Pregnancy Research Project
- Stillbirth Summit 2021
- Stillbirth Scorecard
- Safer Pregnancy information
- Stillbirth Matters Podcast
About Lindsey and Star Legacy Foundation
Lindsey Wimmer is the Founder and Executive Director of the Star Legacy Foundation. Ms. Wimmer is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St Catherine University and a Masters of Science in Pediatric Nursing from the University of Colorado.
Lindsey and her family created Star Legacy Foundation to support stillbirth research and education after experiencing the full-term stillbirth of her first son, Garrett, in 2004. Since then, Star Legacy has grown to be the largest non-profit in the United States with a primary focus on stillbirth prevention and care.
Lindsey lives in Eden Prairie, MN with her husband, Trent, and her three living children, Grant, Bennett, and Austyn.
Connect with Star Legacy Foundation on social channels:
- Facebook – @StarLegacyFoundation
- Instagram – @starlegacyfoundation
- Twitter – @starlegacyfdn
- Linked In – StarLegacyFoundation