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Parturition and Its Relationship with Stillbirths and Asphyxiated Piglets

Trouw Nutrition R&D, Stationsstraat 77, 3811 MH Amersfoort, The Netherlands
SunPork Group, Murarrie, QLD 4172, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(11), 885;
Received: 2 October 2019 / Revised: 24 October 2019 / Accepted: 26 October 2019 / Published: 31 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Reproduction)
Piglets that experience a long labour are more likely to die during birth or immediately following birth, or to grow slowly during life. This is because the longer the piglet experiences contractions during labour, blood supply and oxygen delivery to the brain will be impaired. Even before the first piglet in the litter is born, sows that will have a delayed labour can be identified. This means that the key to saving piglets that are at risk of death because of long labours lies in managing the sow before she gives birth.
The transition from an intra- to extrauterine existence is extremely challenging for the pig. This is evidenced by the fact that conservative estimates place intrapartum piglet death at between 5% and 10%. The main cause of this loss is the parturition process itself, with a long farrowing duration resulting in reduced oxygenation to the piglet via uterine contractions stretching, and in some cases, causing rupture of the umbilical cord. Sows that experience a long expulsive stage of parturition are likely compromised before the birth of the first piglet, and so any strategy to reduce stillbirth should be applied before this. Even in piglets born alive, 15% to 20% will have suffered asphyxiation because of a long cumulative farrowing duration. These individuals are significantly disadvantaged with regards to behavioural progression, colostrum intake, growth and survival extending past the lactation phase, and so require more labour and resources than littermates in order to make them viable. Given these immediate and longer-term impacts, identifying ways to correctly manage the sow before parturition leading to a reduction in farrowing duration should be a priority in order to maximise piglet performance. View Full-Text
Keywords: sow parturition; stillbirth; piglet asphyxia sow parturition; stillbirth; piglet asphyxia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Langendijk, P.; Plush, K. Parturition and Its Relationship with Stillbirths and Asphyxiated Piglets. Animals 2019, 9, 885.

AMA Style

Langendijk P, Plush K. Parturition and Its Relationship with Stillbirths and Asphyxiated Piglets. Animals. 2019; 9(11):885.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Langendijk, Pieter, and Kate Plush. 2019. "Parturition and Its Relationship with Stillbirths and Asphyxiated Piglets" Animals 9, no. 11: 885.

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