Risk of Stillbirth Increases Towards the End of Pregnancy


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.


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.


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

Raising Awareness of Stillbirth and Baby Loss at a Hospital at Hull

More really positive news in the world of stillbirth and baby loss.

A genuine and sincere well done to Hull Women and Children’s Hospital! On 7 June, specialist midwives will remember the precious babies who were taken too soon.

With the help of the charity, Count the Kicks, the first Rainbow Baby Day is being organised to support families who have lost a baby following a miscarriage, stillbirth or death shortly after birth (neonatal death) and who go on to have another child.

According to an article featured in Hull Live, a rainbow banner will be placed in the foyer of the hospital to raise awareness.

Sarah Green, specialist midwife was interviewed by Hull Live and she said that

She said: “Women who have lost a baby before are understandably anxious when they find out they are pregnant again and come back to us.

“To help them, we give them a special wooden rainbow plaque funded by Sands which can be attached to the outside of their door to show staff their new baby is not their first.

“While some women are happy to talk about the baby they have lost, others find it difficult and this stops them having to explain over and over again that this isn’t their first baby”.

What is a rainbow baby?

A rainbow baby is a baby born following the loss of another baby. It is called a rainbow baby because it is like a rainbow after a storm, or after a dark and turbulent time.

For more information please see https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/rainbow-baby-day-marked-hull-2940888

This is the second well done to Hull Women 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 and I have written a blog about this previously https://stillbirthclaims.com/reduction-in-stillbirths-rates-at-hospital-in-hull/

I think this is initiative a such a thoughtful one. It costs very little. It would provide huge comfort to bereaved parents and anything that helps to break the taboo that surrounds stillbirth and neonatal death should be applauded.

I speak firsthand when I say that I know how difficult it is to be pregnant and to give birth after stillbirth. It is akin to mental torture. Naivety and innocence replaced with fear and anxiety. I have never met a bereaved mother who hasn’t found their subsequent pregnancy difficult.

I am very blessed to have gone onto have three rainbow babies. I have experienced one of the the worst outcomes of pregnancy but also the best and for that I feel extremely privileged.

Well done again Hull Women and Children’s hospital. I hope you set a trend and that the idea is taken up by other NHS Trusts throughout the country.

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.

Midwives Show Support of Bereavement Care Project

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.

Please see my previous post https://stillbirthclaims.com/improving-the-quality-of-care-after-a-stillbirth-or-neonatal-death/

Whilst midwives support this initiative, they have asked for funding for training. This is a fair enough demand. The benefit of the NBCP won’t be maximised unless the health professionals running it are taught how to best offer care.

The pilot project was first introduced across 11 trusts in 2017. It has the aim of helping to ensure bereaved parents are supported in the best way possible. It also aims to end the current postcode lottery facing parents and families of stillborn babies and those who die shortly after birth (neo-natal death).

It is now intended that the project is rolled out throughout all Trusts in England.

An article in the Nursing Times states that the Royal College of Midwives said it supported the call for the pathway’s roll out, but also asked the government to help fund ongoing bereavement training and education for midwives.

Education advisor at the RCM, Gail Johnson, said: “It is clear that this pathway works, and midwives and maternity support workers also appreciate the support this gives them to provide better care for bereaved families. We support the call for this to be introduced in NHS trusts across the country.

“We would like to see the government and trusts investing in this to ensure all parents get the support they need, and to fund ongoing education and training for midwives and their colleagues,” she said.

For more information see https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/policies-and-guidance/midwives-support-call-to-roll-out-baby-bereavement-pathway/7028922.article

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.”


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.