Risk of Stillbirth Increases Towards the End of Pregnancy

Stillbirth

According to a recent article in the BMJ, following an analysis of more than 15 million pregnancies, the risk of stillbirth increases with every week that a pregnancy continues past 37 weeks.

In addition, it was found that here was a small but increased risk of stillbirth in mothers who continued their pregnancy to 41 weeks’ gestation.

Researchers noted that women who carry till 41 weeks gestation should not be alarmed. The increased risk of stillbirth is very low.

A third of the 3,000 babies a year who are stillborn are term babies. This is a very sad fact.

Ethnicity

The study further revealed that black women are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to suffer stillbirth regardless of the gestation that they carry to.

Neonatal Death

It’s interesting that the study did not find any correlation between gestation and an increase in neonatal death. Despite the increased risk of stillbirth, delivery between 38 and 41 weeks did not appear to increase the risk of neonatal death. However, according to the study, a risk increased by 87 per cent for deliveries at 42 weeks’gestation compared to 41 weeks.

Data Reviewed

The study was led by Queen Mary University of London. and looked at the data of studies carried out in the UK, US, Denmark and Norway. This included a total of 15,124,027 pregnancies, 17,830 stillbirths and 2,348 newborn deaths.

Opinion

The results of the study should enable women to make a better informed choice about the timing of their delivery. This is so important. Women need to be given as much information as possible about the risks:benefits ratio so that they can make the right decision for themselves.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

New Scheme to Help Bereaved Parents with Funeral Costs

It was very touching to read in the independent about a new Government scheme. Parents who lose children (to include stillborn babies) are to be given up to £2,000 to help with funeral costs.

To lose a baby or child and then not have the money to bury them must add unnecessary anxiety to what is already a horrendous situation. I cannot imagine it.

According to the Independent, the Children’s Funeral Fund aims to reduce the financial burden for families by reimbursing burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors directly.

The fund will be available regardless of the family’s income, and will also include a contribution of £300 towards the cost of a coffin.

The fund is due to come into effect this month.

A really great initiative the benefit of which will sadly be felt by too many.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information see https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/child-funeral-costs-bereaved-parents-help-theresa-may-carolyn-harris-a8982071.html

Stillbirth Rate in Hertfordshire Below the National Average

An article in the Welyn Hatfield Times revealed that the stillbirth rate in Hertfordshire was below the national average.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the rate of stillbirth in Hertfordshire increased by less than 0.1%.

It was reported that Hertfordshire moved from 3.5% in 2016, to 3.6% in 2017 per 1,000 births.

According to the article, the national trend in England and Wales was 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016 move to 3.9 in 2017.

It states that it should be noted that due to live births and infant deaths, both in real number decreasing, the proportion of rates actually went up in England and Wales in 2017.

NHS East and North Hertfordshire Care Commissioning Group, told the website that published the article that it wants to raise awareness of stillbirths.

This is vitally important and is part of the NHS plan to tackle the rate of stillbirths. However, the reality is that our stillbirth rates are still unacceptably high for a developed country.

It’s comforting to see that steps are being taken to address this and i’m keeping everything crossed that the passage of time beings with it a reduction in our stillbirth rate.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

To access the full article please see https://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/herts-stillbirths-below-average-1-6114894

A Hospital Helping Parents of Stillborn Babies

I sadly know first hand how what torture a mother of a stillborn baby endures giving birth on a labour ward. Surrounded by the cries of newborn babies it is hell.

It’s so cruel to think that in 2019, parents of stillborn babies meet their babies on the same wards as those welcoming healthy newborns.

It was really comforting to read an article in the BBC recently about a hospital in the Midlands who plan to make a separate building for parents giving birth to stillborn babies.

According to the Office of National Statistics, one in every 238 births in 2017 was a stillbirth.

In the same year, three in every 1,000 neonatal babies – those born after 24 weeks’ gestation – died.

According to the Miscarriage Association, more than one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage equating to about a quarter of a million in the UK each year.

Some of these pregnancies end up on the delivery ward.

Birmingham Women’s Hospital plans to take action and has begun fundraising for a standalone centre for families of stillborn babies and other baby loss.

Woodland House would be built on the hospital’s grounds, to help the 2,000 women and their families they see every year who have suffered miscarriage, failed IVF, stillbirth or neonatal death.

According to the BBC, a crowdfunding mission aims to raise £3.5m for Woodland House, which, if successful, will feature counselling rooms, a private garden, communal lounge for support groups and a family room.

I think this is a wonderful initiative. At the end of the day, giving birth to death is always going to amount to torture. However, anything that can be done to create better memories and make the whole experience even slightly less hellish is a positive thing. To be honest, the fact that an NHS trust has even thought about the idea is fantastic in itself.

I’ve read a lot of positive articles regarding stillbirth and neonatal death which is really pleasing as it signals a shift in opinion is respect of just how devastating and life changing it is.

You can find examples of this positivity here:

http://stillbirthclaims.com/over-a-million-pounds-to-be-spent-to-half-stillbirths-and-maternity-incidents-at-nhs-hospital/

http://stillbirthclaims.com/nhs-pledge-to-give-mothers-continuity-of-care-with-same-midwife-a-reduction-in-stillbirth/

http://stillbirthclaims.com/reduction-in-stillbirths-rates-at-hospital-in-hull/

For more information about Birmingham Women’s Hospital plans, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-48124991

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Over a Million Pounds to be Spent to Half Stillbirths and Maternity Incidents at NHS Hospital

It’s just so heartwarming to read on the Derby Telegraph website that more than a million pounds is going to be injected into Derby and Burton hospitals with this intention of halving the number of stillbirth and maternity incidents.

There were apparently 16 stillbirths at the Royal Derby hospital last year with the same amount in 2017 and more than double – 37 – in 2016. Last year, that’s 16 lives lost. The pattern of 16 families lives torn apart. Lives changed. Forever.

Of course, Derby and Burton hospitals proposal is part of a wider picture. The NHS has a long term plan to improve maternity care with the reduction of stillbirths and neonatal deaths – “Saving Babies Lives”.

In addition, the RCOG have also plans to tackle the high stillbirth rates with “Every Baby Counts” (see earlier blogs
http://stillbirthclaims.com/baby-counts-rcog-initiative/ and
http://stillbirthclaims.com/each-baby-counts-2018-progress-report-2/

In line with the mission of “Saving Babies Lives”, the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB) says there is an aim to halve stillbirths, maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and serious brain injury in newborn babies by 2025.

Nearly a year ago, the Perinatal Institute found that 19 baby deaths at the Royal Derby between 2013 and 2016 “might” or should” have been preventable.

I genuinely commend the UHBD for allocating budget to the cause of saving babies lives in reducing stillbirth and neonatal death. One cannot underestimate the effects that a stillbirth or neonatal death can have on a family (I sadly know this first hand) and to read that a Trust is prioritising this is amazing. Hopefully more Trusts will follow suit.

For more information see: https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/more-million-spent-halve-stillbirths-2870697

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Improving the Quality of Care after a Stillbirth or Neonatal Death

The National Bereavement Care Pathway (“NBCP”) are seeking to improve the quality and consistency of bereavement care in NHS trusts following a stillbirth or neonatal death or other baby loss.

Launched in 2017, the NBCP seeks to increase the quality of, and reduce the inequity in, the bereavement care provided by healthcare professionals after the loss of a baby or pregnancy at any gestation. 

The five pathways in total include:

  1. Miscarried (including molar pregnancy and ectopic)
  2. Termination of Pregnancy for Fetal Abnormality (TOPFA)
  3. Stillbirth
  4. Neonatal death
  5. Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant

Following a ‘call for evidence’, draft pathways were created on the basis of good practice across the country. As a result, 32 healthcare settings in England have piloted the pathway over the past two years and have seen real changes for parents and professionals in their trusts. Following the outcome of the independent evaluations, the NBCP is being rolled out across England.

For more information see https://nbcpathway.org.uk/about-nbcp/national-bereavement-care-pathway-background-project

During Prime Minister’s Questions in Westminster on 15 May, the Prime Minister, in responding to a question from Antoinette Sandbach MP regarding the NBCP evaluation report released on 10 May, recognised the support that the NBCP provides to bereaved parents and urged all NHS Trusts to adopt the pathway. 

The evaluation of the NCBP can be found here: https://nbcpathway.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-05/NBCP%20wave%20two%20evaluation%20report%207%20May%202019_0.pdf

Minister for Mental Health, Jackie Doyle-Price, had the following to say about the NCBP evaluation:

“Every stillbirth or baby loss is a tragedy and we remain absolutely committed to supporting parents through this difficult time.

This independent evaluation shows that National Bereavement Care Pathway has already helped to strengthen the support for many bereaved families across the country, but there is more to do and I would urge all NHS Trusts to adopt this approach to ensure all care surrounding baby loss meets these consistent standards.

Through our Long Term Plan for the NHS we are also accelerating action to halve the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths over the next five years and improving access to perinatal mental health care for mothers and their partners.”

POSTED ONMAY 14, 2019EDIT”HOSPITAL UNDER REVIEW – STILLBIRTHS AND NEONATAL DEATHS”

Hospital Under Review – Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths

I’m both sad and frustrated to be sat at my desk writing this blog. Another hospital under review. Another hospital not affording a reasonable standard of care to mothers and babies. Another hospital not meeting national targets.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has received its fourth warning in eight months according to an article recently published in the Daily Mail.

The Care Quality commission (CQC) has issued a section 31 warning which means that the Trust faces closure if changes are not made.

Apparently, the most recent warning concerned a lack of staff in A&E particularly paediatricians.

An independent review is being conducted after 250 cases of poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust over the last 20 years. The review started in April 2017 following which many more families came forward over stillbirth, neonatal and child deaths.

It emerged that a failure to properly monitor heart rates played a contributory factor in five deaths whilst another two were found to be suspicious. Legal action taken and Inquests resulted in the finding that seven deaths were avoidable.

An investigation by the Trust found that two babies died from oxygen starvation to the brain ‘contributed to by delay in recognising deterioration in the foetal heart traces and the missed opportunities for earlier delivery’. 

In September 2018 the West Midlands Quality Review Service warned Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust about its lack of trained staff in paediatric resuscitation. 

The report noted that paediatric staff were only available ‘9am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 12 noon to 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays’. 

‘Reviewers considered that a child could arrive and need resuscitation after 10pm and that a member of staff with appropriate competences to lead the resuscitation might not be available.’

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust attribute the lack of available staff due to a strain on the service with a rise in patients. As a result, the Trust has approved spending of over £1 million for additional staffing in an attempt to combat the problem.

I don’t understand how poor care can get so out of hand but looking at the situation with a my positive eyes, I sincerely hope that the extra staff employed will greatly improve the care given and that all those families get the answers that they are striving for.

For more information please see https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7014485/Scandal-hit-NHS-trust-centre-baby-deaths-review-receives-warning.html

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hospital Under Review – Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths

I’m both sad and frustrated to be sat at my desk writing this blog. Another hospital under review. Another hospital not affording a reasonable standard of care to mothers and babies. Another hospital not meeting national targets.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has received its fourth warning in eight months according to an article recently published in the Daily Mail.

The Care Quality commission (CQC) has issued a section 31 warning which means that the Trust faces closure if changes are not made.

Apparently, the most recent warning concerned a lack of staff in A&E particularly paediatricians.

An independent review is being conducted after 250 cases of poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust over the last 20 years. The review started in April 2017 following which many more families came forward over stillbirth, neonatal and child deaths.

It emerged that a failure to properly monitor heart rates played a contributory factor in five deaths whilst another two were found to be suspicious. Legal action taken and Inquests resulted in the finding that seven deaths were avoidable.

An investigation by the Trust found that two babies died from oxygen starvation to the brain ‘contributed to by delay in recognising deterioration in the foetal heart traces and the missed opportunities for earlier delivery’. 

In September 2018 the West Midlands Quality Review Service warned Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust about its lack of trained staff in paediatric resuscitation. 

The report noted that paediatric staff were only available ‘9am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 12 noon to 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays’. 

‘Reviewers considered that a child could arrive and need resuscitation after 10pm and that a member of staff with appropriate competences to lead the resuscitation might not be available.’

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust attribute the lack of available staff due to a strain on the service with a rise in patients. As a result, the Trust has approved spending of over £1 million for additional staffing in an attempt to combat the problem.

I don’t understand how poor care can get so out of hand but looking at the situation with a my positive eyes, I sincerely hope that the extra staff employed will greatly improve the care given and that all those families get the answers that they are striving for.

For more information please see https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7014485/Scandal-hit-NHS-trust-centre-baby-deaths-review-receives-warning.html

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

NHS Pledge to Give Mothers Continuity of Care with Same Midwife – a Reduction in Stillbirth?

The NHS have promised to spend £40 million on providing women with the same midwife throughout their pregnancy.

As a result of this pledge, it is anticipated that maternity deaths will be reduced by a massive 50 per cent.

Currently, it isn’t uncommon for a woman to see different midwives throughout her pregnancy, both during the antenatal period, during labour and during the post-natal period. Not only would continuity of care mean that a woman would no longer have to keep repeating her story, it would, in my opinion, lead to better care. This is in respect of the measuring of a woman’s bump, the method of which is said to differ from midwife to midwife.

The government anticipates that over a third of women should benefit from the new plans by March next year, rising to more than half by 2021.

In addition to reducing maternal deaths, this new proposal also aims to reduce our stillbirth and neonatal death rate.

The new funding will be used to reduce the rates of stillbirth, neonatal death, maternal death and brain injury during birth by 20 per cent by the end of 2020/21, and 50 per cent by 2025.

I think that this is a really big step in helping to improve our maternity care. The cost is massive but I hope that the intended benefit in reducing maternal death, stillbirth, neonatal death and brain injury is realised quickly.

For more information please see https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/05/expectant-mothers-given-midwife-throughout-pregnancy-40million/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_em

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Each Baby Counts: 2018 Progress Report

“Each Baby Counts” is the Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist’s (“RCOG”) national quality improvement programme to reduce the number of babies who die or are left severely disabled as a result of incidents occurring during labour (see earlier blog). The key findings of the Report are as follows:

Of the nearly 700,000 babies born in 2016, 1,123 babies fulfilled the Each Baby Counts criteria. There were 124 stillbirths, 145 babies who died early and 854 babies who sustained severe brain injuries during labour at term (babies born after 37 completed weeks of gestation). • The number of incidents where different care might have led to a different outcome still remains too high, with 71% babies who might have had a different outcome with different care. • For the babies reported to Each Baby Counts, the reviewers concluded that there was rarely one single cause of the stillbirth, early neonatal death or brain injury. The report identified an average of seven critical contributory factors for each baby where different care might have had made a difference to the outcome. • In almost half (45%) of these affected babies, guidelines and best practice were not followed. Reasons for not following guidelines included gaps in training, lack of recognition of problems, heavy workload, staffing levels and local guidelines not being based on best available evidence. Amy Bennett, medical negligence Solicitor who acts on behalf of numerous bereaved families, believes that “The Each Baby Counts project is a significant step towards the recognition of the unacceptable high levels of avoidable stillbirth, neonatal death and brain damage cases as well as recognition of the life changing effects losing a baby or raising a severely brain damaged baby can have on a family. The findings of the 2018 Progress Report do not look promising at all in terms of meeting the targets set but time will tell.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Reduction in Stillbirths Rates at Hospital in Hull

Well done to Hull Women’s and Children’s Hospital!

According to the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust website, the Trust have reduced stillbirth by 36 per cent from 25 in 2016/17 to 14 so far in 2018/2019.

The Trust have adopted national guidelines to save babies’ lives. It puts helping women to stop smoking, monitoring women at risk of stillbirth more closely and checking babies’ heart rate during labour more effectively have all helped to reduce the stillbirth rate.

For more information please see https://www.hey.nhs.uk/news/2019/03/20/dramatic-reduction-in-stillbirths-after-new-guidelines-are-introduced-in-hull-2/?fbclid=IwAR1sdxCwQslbJgaoW2GUiqw-o4UrbjWrSvwlLUO0zm4PX6MSiYFvMjEWMK4

It’s still early days in terms of whether stillbirth and neonatal deaths will be reduced as desired by the NHS initiative but for now, this is really positive news to read. It’s really heart warming to see a Trust taking heed of national NHS guidelines and actually putting them into action which has an effect in the desired outcome i.e. reducing stillbirth rates.

It was only a few weeks ago that I read about a hospital in Bolton reducing their stillbirth rates. I look forward to reviewing more positive news in respect of reducing our dire stillbirth rates.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.