George Eliot Hospital’s Maternity Unit is to introduce a range of measures to improve support for parents-to-be around fetal movement as it embraces national guidelines to reduce stillbirth.
The NHS Saving Babies’ Lives guidance published last month is part of a Government drive to half the rate of stillbirths by 2030 across the UK. The guidance brings together four key elements of care based on best practice and evidence in order to help reduce stillbirth rates.
The George Eliot Maternity team will be using the guidance to implement the four main themes within the campaign. These themes include further support for women to help reduce smoking in pregnancy, developing customised growth charts to help monitor baby growth, providing specialist advice and information around fetal movement and specialist training for staff to monitor baby’s heart rate during labour.
Maternity staff have developed an action plan to support the new advice and implementing processes to help protect babies’ lives in the local community. A lead consultant and a manager will help to implement each of the four care bundles within the improvement campaign which will launch on 1 May 2016. This initiative will enable the maternity team to enhance the existing services currently being delivered at the George Eliot.
George Eliot Hospital has developed its own leaflet to support this new campaign and will be sharing with pregnant women. In addition, an information and advice leaflet on reduced fetal movement is also being launched which will be provided to all women by week 25 of their pregnancy. The leaflet will contain clear messaging consistent with national guidelines.
Head of midwifery, Alison Talbot said: “Women will have access to valuable advice which will make it easier for them to report any signs/concerns to midwives.
“Our midwives will also be able to obtain best practice to help us further improve our support to women and babies in our local community.”
The four key areas covered in the campaign include:
Reducing smoking in pregnancy – All women will be offered a test to help establish the level of carbon monoxide they have been exposed to, as well as local support to stop smoking. This will ensure that smokers and non-smokers are fully aware of the risks to their unborn baby and supported to quit or have home appliances safety checked. The latest figures show that just over one in 10 women smoke during their pregnancy.
Enhancing detection of fetal growth restriction – Growth of babies will continue to be monitored and recorded on customised growth charts.
Improving awareness of the importance of fetal movement – Women and their partners will be provided more information and empowered to monitor their baby’s movements through clear and consistent advice.
Improving fetal monitoring during labour – ongoing training will be provided to staff about monitoring of the baby’s heart during labour and we are very pleased that Dr Edwin Chandraharan from St. Georges Hospital, London will be visiting in July to provide additional specialist training around intrapartum fetal surveillance.
Further information about George Eliot Hospital Maternity Services can be found here.
About the Saving Babies’ Lives Guidance
It is the first time that guidance specifically aimed at reducing stillbirths has been brought together to support commissioners, providers and professionals in making care safer for women and their babies. The guidance has been developed by NHS England working with organisations including the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society and Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
There are currently around 665,000 babies born in England each year, but there are over 3,000 stillbirths. Despite falling to its lowest rate in 20 years, one in every 200 babies is stillborn in the UK, more than double the rate of nations with the lowest rates. More info at https://www.england.nhs.uk/2016/03/stillbirths/