Stop the stillbirth scandal - Join Grazia and Sands Campaign to improve screening for pregnant women
In the UK, 11 babies are stillborn every day. And shocking new research, published last month in The Lancet, found Britain is ranked second from bottom: 33 out of 35 countries in the developed world for stillbirth rates. Countries like Australia – which have invested heavily in research – have managed to bring their rates down. In the UK, they have remained the same for the past 10 years. This is simply not acceptable.
Which is why Grazia has today joined forces with the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, Sands, to demand change.
We want the government to fund research to discover what is causing these babies to die, and to develop new ways of screening pregnancies to find out which babies are at risk of stillbirth… and save their lives before it is too late.
Whether this is a scan in the third trimester or even the introduction of hand held scanners to detect babies’ movements, what is key is funding for this vital research to be carried out.
Doctors can screen for other problems in pregnancy such as Down’s syndrome, because the research has been done to find out how to predict which babies are at risk. Research into cot death has reduced deaths by 70% in the last 20 years. Stillbirth is now 10 times more common than cot death.
Chief executive Neal Long says, ‘With 11 babies dying every day, it’s a national scandal which has persisted for far too long. Most stillborn babies have no abnormalities and no clear reason why they died. Early delivery could potentially save the lives of many of these babies. We know that the antenatal screening techniques used today just aren’t accurate enough to pick out these at-risk babies, so many otherwise perfect babies are missed, and tragically they die.’
Experts argue that a significant proportion of these deaths could be avoided if mothers received better care during pregnancy and labour. But current routine antenatal screening methods, measuring baby’s growth with a tape measure and scanning at 12 and 20 weeks, aren’t working when it comes to preventing many stillbirths.
Causes of stillbirth can be anything from an infection through to problems with the placenta. Grazia editor-in-chief Jane Bruton says, ‘It’s shocking how many women are going through the pain and devastation of stillbirth every day. We believe research needs to be urgently carried out to discover how improved screening for pregnant women could help reduce the UK’s rates... and save more women from the trauma of losing their child.’
Now you can join the campaign to help, by signing our petition. ‘The support of Grazia readers will really make a huge difference’ adds Long. `The Government listens to public opinion and we need them to know that people value the lives of these precious babies. We urge you to sign our petition and help get the research that is so desperately needed.’
We want the UK government to fund research to discover what is causing these babies to die and to develop new ways of screening pregnancies to find out which babies are at risk of stillbirth and save their lives before it is too late.