An investigation into stillbirths in the UK has discovered that hospitals are missing essential signs that if picked up could save the lives of many unborn babies.
The investigation, by the University of Leicester, looked into 85 stillbirths that occurred at full term and had no congenital abnormalities.
Up to half of stillbirths could have been prevented
- 50% of cases showed 'missed opportunities to potentially save the baby'
Results showed that in some cases better care could have been offered and even though mothers raised the alarm about their baby’s movement, the correct tests were not always offered.
The investigation highlighted that in 50% of cases where mothers had reported reduced movement, opportunities to save the baby had been ‘missed.’
In some of these cases it was discovered that despite monitoring heart rates, traces had been misinterpreted by the hospital staff. Other examples highlighted where that those at high risk of stillbirth, such as mothers suffering with diabetes, had not been monitored closely enough.
Commenting on the findings, Elizabeth Hutton, chief executive of the Count the Kicks charity, is reported as saying: "Many women who contact us think their babies could have been saved if basic guidelines had been followed and they often feel that they are not always taken seriously when they contact a healthcare professional with worries about reduced movement."
Tommy's Sleep On Side campaign was launched in 2017 to let women know that supine sleep (sleeping on back) in late pregnancy puts them at higher risk of stillbirth and to reduce that risk sleeping on your side is safer. Professor Alex Heazell led the fourth piece of research in 2017 that confirmed the link between sleeping on your back and a higher risk of stillbirth.