In the UK, stillbirth describes the death of a baby before birth after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. The rate has decreased in the UK over recent years but at a slower pace than other similar high-income countries.
The association of certain risk factors (including maternal age, previous poor obstetric outcome, smoking and obesity) is clearly documented, though only a number of these factors can be modified. Use of interventions including the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle focussing on smoking cessation, assessment for small for gestational age (SGA) babies, educating women regarding reduced fetal movements and effective fetal monitoring during labour aim to reduce both antenatal and intrapartum stillbirth.
As yet, it remains difficult to predict which pregnancies are at greatest risk of stillbirth but with further research, ongoing improvements in antenatal and intrapartum care, and improved patient education, it is anticipated that the incidence in the UK can be substantially reduced. (10 references)
Stillbirth: is it preventable? by Woods JR and Heazell AEP, appears in Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine, volume 28, no 5, May 2018, pp 148-154. Links to the abstract and further details can be found here.
The following articles will also be of interest and are available to purchase here.
Clark J. Altered fetal movement: challenges in self-diagnosis and implications for practice. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest vol 28, no 1, March 2018, pp 43-48.
Grice R, Hobbs L. A literature review: how do women perceive fetal movements? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest vol 28, no 1, March 2018, pp 49-54.
P196 Stillbirth – prevention | Abstracts (180)| £9.95
Search pack P196 features a comprehensive list of bibliographic article references and abstracts which focus on the prevention of stillbirth, including efforts by maternal health services, medical interventions, government strategies, and screening programmes.