A new report has suggested that better care provided by UK hospitals could prevent hundreds of stillbirths each year.
Research conducted by the University of Leicester suggested that some mothers are not offered suitable tests even when they express concerns about their babies not moving. The study, which focused on 85 cases of stillbirth (not linked to congenital birth defects or conditions), found that in two-thirds of cases, better care could have been provided. The cases in question related to full term stillbirth.
The latest statistics show that there are more than 3,600 stillbirths in this country every year and although there has been some level of improvement, this remains very high in comparison with other European countries.
In half of the cases analysed by the research team, mothers had already contacted the maternity unit to report changes in their baby’s movement pattern and express worry about the fact that their baby did not seem to be moving. Close analysis revealed that half of mothers could have received better care, which may have potentially saved the baby’s life.
Researchers found that some mothers had not been offered appropriate tests, mothers at risk of stillbirth had not been monitored as closely as they could have been and some test results had been misinterpreted.
Dr David Richmond, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that it was “desperately disappointing” that the recommendations put forward by this latest report are incredibly similar to a report compiled 15 years ago. It is alarming that the report suggests that 60 percent of the babies could have been saved and highlights the need for prompt action.
Chief executive of charity Count the Kicks, Elizabeth Hutton, said that many women who have lost a baby get in touch thinking that more could have been done to save their baby. There have also been many cases of women saying they were not taken seriously by midwives and doctors when expressing concern about a lack of movement.
The report also highlighted positive points, including excellent provision of counselling and long-term support for parents who had lost a baby.