NHS publishes new guidelines for care providers to help halve stillbirth rate

Pregnant women are to receive more support to reduce the risk of stillbirths in new guidelines from the NHS.

The Saving Babies’ Lives Care bundle is being issued to care providers as part of an NHS initiative to halve the number of stillbirths from 4.7 to 2.3 per 1,000 by 2030. Stillbirth reduction is a mandate objective from the government to NHS England, a target in the NHS England Business Plan 2015-16, and a key indicator in the NHS Outcomes Framework.

The four guidelines are offering pregnant women tests to determine the level of carbon monoxide they’re exposed to and, if appropriate, stop smoking support; using an algorithm to determine the level of monitoring required for the growth of babies and recording results on growth charts; and training and assessing staff annually on cardiotocograph (CTG) interpretation and use of auscultation (monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat) during labour, with a buddy system to ensure that there are two people looking for potential problems.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, head of maternity, children and young people for NHS England, said: “Having a baby in this country is now safer than ever before, but for some mums that’s not the case, and the ‘care bundle’ and new National Maternity Review will help all families receive excellent maternity care.”

The Saving Babies’ Lives bundle comes following the most recent National Maternity Care review, which found that half of all term stillbirths had one element of care that may have made a difference to the outcome.

Dr Matthew Jolly, national clinical director for maternity and women’s health at NHS England, said: “Saving Babies’ Lives’ provides clinicians with the best available clinical approaches to tackling stillbirth across four key elements of care. Though many NHS maternity care providers already follow much of this best practice, this is the first time that guidance specifically for reducing the risk of stillbirth and early neonatal death has been brought together in a coherent package.”

(Image c. David Jones from Press Association)


Cllr Faith Ponsonby   31/03/2016 at 02:00

This is really good news.. the rate of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in this country has been higher than most of the wealthier nations for far too long. The impact of these tragedies is huge and something women never, ever forget. Even little things, like careful monitoring of the growth rate, will make a difference. Well done!

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