Over a thousand stillbirths each year 'are avoidable'
Over a thousand stillbirths could be avoided every year in the UK, neonatal charity Sands has claimed.
The report Preventing Babies’ Deaths: what needs to be done, says routine antenatal care is “failing to detect far too many babies that need help”.
It claims a combination of more research, better care and a greater awareness of the risks of stillbirth and newborn baby death could save as many as 1,200 babies’ lives each year.
Sands said it is “extremely concerned” by the UK’s “persistently high and ignored” stillbirth rates.
One in 200 babies are currently born stillborn in the UK on a yearly basis.
The report, launched in the House of Commons today (18 January) has urgently called for new reliable screening tests to prevent stillbirths.
“A lack of research into the causes of stillbirth has hampered the development of effective tools for assessing how healthy the baby is in the womb in the third trimester; babies continue to slip through the net and die,” says the report.
“It is time there was an effective screening programme for stillbirth which is fit for 21st century healthcare.”
Sands has also called for The Clinical Outcome Review Programme for Maternal and Newborn Health audit to be resumed by April 2012 “at the latest”, branding its suspension as “unacceptable”.
Dr Tony Falconer, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, welcomed the report and encouraged scientific funding agencies to support more research in this “neglected area” to further understanding.
Question: Do you think dated antenatal screening equipment is to blame for avoidable stillbirths?