“The child’s heart is still beating.” In the whole of Italy in religious childbirth units and in childbirth units where religion is predominant, this sentence is still used to put women at risk.
Still. “Still” means that pregnancy is by now fatally compromised but the fetus’ heart keeps beating. For women in between 16th and 22nd week of pregnancy, with fetuses that according to International Protocols mustn’t be reanimated because incompatible with surviving, this sentence risks every day to become a death sentence.
The majority of these women have the amniotic sac broken(we can’t get to know if this was alsoValentina’s case at 19th week) and the vast uterus wall, living flesh, is so in contact with the exterior, and the woman risks a very dangerous infection, septicemia, nowadays called sepsis. Of course sepsis not always happens, sooner or later the beating stops and labour pains arrive; somehow the woman’s body succeeds in getting free of its content and nothing happens. But letting them there, instead, saying “we can’t intervene there’s the heart beating,” increases by the hour the risk of mortal sepsis.