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Sunday 27th May 2018

Many baby deaths preventable

24th September 2007

A new study has suggested that as many as many as 1,000 stillbirths each year could be prevented if clinicians were able to spot when foetuses were not developing properly.


The research comes from the NHS’ Perinatal Institute, which will highlight restricted foetal growth as the key factor in many stillbirths.

The study suggests that if this was picked up in pregnancy, the babies could be delivered early and have a greater chance of survival, a move that would offset the rates of stillbirths in Britain which are among the highest in Western Europe.

The decade-long study revealed that of the 4,000 babies that are stillborn each year, about 40% had growth problems but more than 60% may have survived if action has been taken.

Perinatal Institute director Professor Jason Gardosi said: “If we can recognise that babies are not growing as they should then they can be further investigated and, if necessary, delivered at the right time, and in a good condition, rather than being left in the womb and at continued risk of dying.?

Researchers have also identified issues over resources in this situation, noting the number of cases midwives have to deal with at present.

Recently, the new president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, echoed these concerns.

He believes there are too few consultants and midwives to guarantee the safety of mothers and babies and is preparing data that shows that most babies die during the night when hospitals have fewer consultants on duty.


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