New Report Suggest it’s Safe to Fall Pregnant Again Shortly After Stillbirth

I read an interesting article last week. It was about the fact that recent research suggests that it is ok not to delay having a baby after a stillbirth.

This is really good news to read as I know that many women (me included) worry about having another baby straight after a stillbirth or neonatal death. Different Consultants have different opinions. The physical toll aside, there is the argument that a woman should give herself time to grieve before embarking upon what it inevitably going to be a difficult pregnancy (emotionally). In addition, there is also the opinion that stress does not help conception.

A study in the Lancet revealed that of 14,000 births (of babies born after a stillbirth), there was no increased risk of problems if conception happened earlier.

Ultimately, it is the parent’s choice as to when the try for another baby after a stillbirth or neonatal death. For those wanting to try straight away, it is reassuring that a recent study confirms that it is safe to do so (an opinion already held by many Consultant Obstetricians).

In addition, you can find more information at

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.

Campaign for Safer Births

I recently came across “Campaign for Safer Births” an organisation set up by two mothers in memory of their sons, Louie and Harry, both of whom died as a result of negligence during labour.

The Campaign’s mission is to improve NHS Maternity Services in order to reduce the avoidable deaths and injuries of babies and mothers during labour.

They highlight the scale of the problem on their website, providing the following data:

* Over 500 babies are dying unnecessarily every year in labour or soon after, Perinatal Mortality Report 2009, Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries 2011 & ITV Tonight programme

* The cost of litigation relating to obstetric mistakes was £3.1 billion over 10 years to March 2010. Obstetrics is the highest area of litigation by cost, NHS Litigation Authority Report: Ten Years of Maternity Claims An Analysis of NHS Litigation Authority Data, October 2012

* The UK has very poor stillbirth rates 33rd out of 35 similar high income countries, V Flenady et al. Stillbirths: the way forward in high-income countries. The Lancet 2011, Vol. 377, Issue 9778, Pages 1703-1717

* Having a baby through the night or at the weekend is associated with a 45% increased risk of neonatal death due to oxygen starvation during the birth. This is thought to be due to poor staffing and junior doctors being left alone, even though 70% of babies are born through the night 38 D Pasupathy, A Wood, J Pell, H Mechan, M Fleming, GCS Smith. Time of birth and risk of neonatal death at term: retrospective cohort study, BMJ 2010

* Overstretched maternity wards having to turn women away – An RCM report found more than half of NHS trusts had to close their door an average of seven times a year, Royal College Midwives: State of Maternity Services Report, 2012

* Lack of Consultant cover Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) agree that 24/7 consultant cover is required urgently

* Hospitals not consistently following national NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines procedures and staffing levels

* Midwife numbers not keeping pace with the rising birth rate

* Lack of quality control and monitoring both internally and externally and lack of Coroner involvement – Coroners are involved in all deaths that are sudden, unexpected or due to neglect, except for babies dying at birth. Why?

* Hospitals not disclosing their mistakes and therefore not learning

The facts and statistics speak for themselves. Urgent change is required to reduce our unacceptably high stillbirth and neonatal death 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.

Each Baby Counts: RCOG Initiative

Following on from last month’s Panorama, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have launched a new five-year initiative, “Each Baby Counts”, to help reduce the UK’s stillbirth rates. They aim to reduce the number of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries as a result of incidents during full-term labour by 2020.

Stillbirth rates in the UK remain unacceptably high. According to the RCOG, current estimates suggest that around 500 babies a year die or are left severely disabled as a result of something going wrong in labour. The starvation of oxygen at birth can lead to severe brain injury such as cerebral palsy. The RCOG does not accept that all of these are unavoidable tragedies and has committed to halving the number by 2020.

From January 2015, the RCOG will start collecting and analysing data to improve future care. For the first time, information will be shared nationally. Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s states that “recognition that some stillbirths are preventable feeds into a wider change in mindset across the field and we can now see real and meaningful action starting to take shape”. Jane goes onto correctly state that “..Whilst this is an important step forward towards saving babies’ lives, it’s only part of the answer”, referring to the fact that far more needs to be done in terms of carrying out research to learn why babies die in pregnancy with this accounting for the majority of stillbirth cases.

The UK’s stillbirth rates during pregnancy need to be reduced as well as those that occur during pregnancy but for now, Each Baby Counts” is a step in the right direction after decades of doing virtually nothing.

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.

Breaking the Taboo: Every Little Helps

Following BBC Panorama’s documentary, “Born Asleep”, it is fantastic to see that stillbirth and neonatal death has been given so much well-deserved media attention, especially during October, International Baby Loss Awareness Month.

Professor Kypros Nicolaides told Panorama that more than half of all stillbirths (there are approximately 3,500 each year) could be prevented. He claims that offering a Doppler scan, which measure the blood flow from the placenta to the baby was the key to the reduction.

Many stillbirths are caused by the failure of the placenta, starving the baby of food and oxygen. Professor Kypros Nicolaides claims that as many as 90% of these cases can be identified from as early as the 12 week scan which would result in the adjustment of antenatal care. King’s College Hospital, London (where Professor Kypros Nicolaides is based) offers Doppler scans routinely at 12, 22 and 32 weeks.

Placental Failure often occurs at the end of pregnancy. It is therefore argued that with the help of the Doppler scan, babies lives can be saved as any abnormality in the placenta can be seen and the baby can be born by C-section before it is too late. Currently, Doppler scans are only used in high risk women which account for only 15-20% of all pregnancies.

Introduction of the Doppler would eradicate the over reliance by health professionals on the tape measure, an antiquated method of measuring a baby’s growth in pregnancy.

St George’s Hospital in London has also introduced the Doppler scan to all first-time mothers at 20 weeks, which costs £15 per mother when given at the same time as a foetal anomaly scan. The hospital claims that since this introduction, it has seen its stillbirth rate drop by 50% in three years.

A clinical trial is needed and further research carried out before the NHS introduce the Doppler as part of routine antenatal care but the statistics look promising.

In the meantime, NHS England is encouraging hospital trusts to adopt the Growth Assisted Protocol (GAP), at a cost of 50p per pregnancy. It is claimed that this method cuts stillbirth rates by up to 22%. It was created by Professor Jason Gardosi, director of the Perinatal Institute in Birmingham and works by giving each mother a customised growth chart which is developed using factors such as her height, weight at beginning of pregnancy, ethnic origin and how many children she has had. The chart estimates the expected growth of the baby for each week in pregnancy and the theory behind it is that if a baby’s growth falls outside what is expected, the mother is then referred for extra scans which would highlight any baby in need of early delivery.

Almost two-thirds of Trusts have signed up. A definite step in the right direction.

I sincerely hope that Professor Kypros Nicolaides and his team are able to convince the NHS of the need to introduce routine Doppler scans as part of antenatal care.

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.