Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Better care could save hundreds of babies from stillbirth, says report

The lives of hundreds of unborn babies could be saved if their mothers were given better care in pregnancy, according to a major report.

More than 1,000 babies without any congenital abnormality die at or near term, before labour begins, in the UK every year. A team of experts reviewed in detail a representative sample of 85 of these stillbirths and found there were failures in the care of half of them.

The team found that warning signs were missed. Half the pregnant women whose babies died had told medical staff they were worried that the baby in the womb was no longer moving. In half of those cases, either there was no investigation, the baby’s heart rate was monitored but misinterpreted or staff in the maternity unit failed to respond correctly to warning signs.

Tests that would have alerted staff to the need to monitor the pregnancy more closely were not carried out. Women at risk of developing diabetes were not tested. National guidance for checking that the baby in the womb was growing normally was not followed.

Opportunities to learn from the deaths were not taken – in only a quarter of cases was there an internal review of what had happened and the quality of the reviews was highly variable, said the experts.

Sands, the charity supporting parents whose babies are stillborn or die soon after birth, took part in the investigation and said there appeared to have been little progress over the last 15 years.

“One in three babies who are stillborn die at term, a time when they are likely to have survived outside the womb had they been safely delivered earlier,” said Judith Abela, the acting chief executive.

“It’s alarming that 15 years after a similar report, there are still critical gaps in antenatal care, suggesting we have learnt very little in the interim. This report confirms the concerns of hundreds of parents Sands supports every year: that not enough is being done to prevent babies from dying.

“Jeremy Hunt pledged last Friday to halve the stillbirth rate by 2030. But this report tells us hundreds of deaths could be avoided today simply by applying existing antenatal guidelines.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“It’s particularly worrying that so many women’s concerns about changes in their baby’s movements are not being taken seriously and that a baby’s poor growth is not being spotted by simple checks.”

The investigations were carried out by a team of academics, clinicians and charity representatives called MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk Through Audits and Confidential Enquiries Across the UK). The work was commissioned by the NHS Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership.

The panel had identified a number of areas where care could be improved, said Elizabeth Draper, professor of perinatal and paediatric epidemiology at University of Leicester, the report’s lead author. But not all the findings were negative.

“We found examples of excellent bereavement care where midwives had provided long-term support for families in a way that surpassed normal expectations, high-quality interpreter services when these were needed, as well as a high standard of postmortems,” she said.

“Giving birth to a stillborn baby is heartbreaking. The report from MBRRACE-UK indicates that opportunities to prevent this may be being missed,” said Prof Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The college supports the report’s recommendations for better maternity care, she said. But she also called for more to be done to help pregnant women reduce risky behaviours such as smoking. “Smoking during pregnancy is a major concern as it causes higher rates of stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight and sudden infant death in babies. Smoking among pregnant women in poor and disadvantaged groups and teenage mothers-to-be remains considerably more prevalent than in the general population,” she said.

“Teenagers are almost six times more likely to smoke throughout pregnancy than women who are over 35, and less likely to quit. Obesity is also more prevalent among poor and disadvantaged groups and also carries an increased risk of stillbirth and other poor pregnancy outcomes.

“Government only last week pledged to cut the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths. We therefore urge government to focus on improving the health of young women in order to safeguard the wellbeing of the next generation.”


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

You May Also Like


Professing to be the lead in Thai relationship with over 1.5 million enrolled single people, Cupid Media’s ThaiCupid brings the one in every of...


Read more about switzerland women here. Swiss ladies and men are not reknown for being the most chatty, outgoing or spontaneous when meeting strangers...


An exclusive article form Orestis Karipis In the 1930’s and 1940’s acid was the weapon of deceived husbands and wives in the Western world...


In food, if there is one thing you can say without fear of contradiction, it is this: Britain loves burgers. The UK market is...

Copyright © 2020 All Rights Reserved