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Critical gaps in antenatal care identified in cases of term stillbirths

A new study launched today has revealed key steps for hospitals to improve care for pregnant mums and babies.

It follows an investigation by a team of experts into 133 cases of stillbirth in 2013 - and found that national guidance was not followed by hospitals in the majority of cases and identified ‘missed opportunities’ which could have potentially saved the lives of babies.

In the UK today, almost one in every 200 babies is stillborn and one third of these occur when the pregnancy has reached full term. A team of academics, clinicians and charity representatives, called MBRRACE-UK, has looked at how care for these mothers and term babies can be improved.

The report, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership as part of the Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme, is led by Professor Elizabeth Draper and a team from the Department of Health Sciences.

Professor Draper said: “The panel has identified a number of areas where improvements of care are required which, if implemented, could lead to an overall reduction in this type of stillbirth, representing missed opportunities in the provision of antenatal care.

“However, not all findings were negative. We found examples of excellent bereavement care where midwives had provided long term support for families in a way that surpassed normal expectations, high quality interpreter services when these were needed as well as a high standard of post mortems.”

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