NHS Publishes Advice On Preventing Stillbirths For The First Time

Experts Praise Move Which Aims To Halve Stillbirth Rate By 2030

21.03.2016

Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

NHS England has published advice for parents, doctors and midwives to help reduce the number of stillbirths.

Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle, which includes information about quitting smoking during pregnancy, monitoring foetal growth and movement, and monitoring the baby during labour.

According to NHS figures there is one stillbirth for every 200 births in the UK, with about a 25% variation in that rate across England.

The NHS also announced that an advice leaflet on reduced foetal movement will be given to all expectant mothers by week 24 of their pregnancy.

It is the first time guidance has been issued specifically for reducing baby deaths during pregnancy and the initiative hopes to halve the rate of stillbirths by 2030.

Figures released by the NHS  have revealed that there are more than 3,000 stillbirths out of about 665,000 births in England every year.

The guidance has been compiled with the help of the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the British Maternal and Foetal Medicine Society as well as the stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands.

Expert Opinion
From working closely to support families who have been through the harrowing experience of stillbirth we understand what an important and urgent issue it is for the NHS to address.

From our experience investigating maternity care on behalf of the families affected, many still births could be avoided with better practices in terms of foetal movement and growth monitoring during both pregnancy and labour.

We welcome the news that NHS England have, for the first time published advice to healthcare professionals and parents to help reduce the number of avoidable stillbirths.

Better training, safer staffing levels and more robust procedures could help reduce the risk of these issues. It’s often only because of medical negligence cases that some of these issues come to light and reoccurring issues become known. It’s therefore crucial that lessons are learnt to improve patient safety for others.
Rachelle Mahapatra, Partner