Stillbirth Advice For Parents, Doctors And Midwives Published By NHS England For The First Time

The Saving Babies' Lives Care Bundles aim to halve the rate of stillbirths.

Advice for parents, doctors and midwives to help prevent stillbirths has been published for the first time by the NHS.

The Saving Babies' Lives Care Bundle includes information about reducing smoking during pregnancy, monitoring foetal growth and movement, and assessing the baby during labour.

An information and advice leaflet on reduced foetal movement will also be given to all expectant mothers by the time they are 24 weeks pregnant.

The initiative - which is the first time NHS guidance has been issued specifically for reducing baby deaths during pregnancy - aims to halve the rate of stillbirths by 2030.

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"NHS maternity care is now the safest it's ever been, and most mums say they're cared for brilliantly," said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England according to PA.

"But that makes it all the more tragic and heart-wrenching when for a small number of families something goes terribly wrong.

"We could however cut the chances of this happening if all pregnant mums were encouraged to quit smoking, if proper monitoring takes place during pregnancy, and if maternity providers listen carefully when pregnant women report worries about their baby's movements."

One in every 200 babies is stillborn in the UK, according to NHS figures.

The guidance was developed by the NHS working with organisations including the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, British Maternal and Foetal Medicine Society and Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said it is "unacceptable" that England has a worse stillbirth rate than other countries in western Europe and called on the Government to invest in more midwives.

"Midwives and other staff must have the time to spend with women and they must have the time to attend training," she said.

"Having the right number of midwives will also contribute to continuity of care and carer, with women seeing the same midwife or small number of midwives.

"England remains 2,600 full time midwives short of the number it needs. So whilst this guidance is welcome and valuable, we must have the right numbers of staff to ensure it is implemented correctly."

Elizabeth Hutton, CEO of Kicks Count said she is delighted that the Government is starting to act on its aim to halve the rate of stillbirths.

"Our charity has campaigned to raise awareness of this issue for five years now and it is good news that progress is finally being made," she explained.

"We know, from the many women who contact us, that knowing about the importance of foetal movement saved their baby’s life so the more women that are reached with this message, the more babies can potentially be saved."

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