The guidance, which was developed with support from charities, including Tommy's, is called the Saving Babies' Lives Care Bundle. It brings together four key elements of care, based on best available evidence and practice in order to help reduce stillbirth rates.
The care bundle focuses on four elements known to affect stillbirth rates:
- fetal growth restriction
- reduced fetal movement
- improvement of fetal monitoring during labour.
Clinicians from the Tommy's stillbirth centre in Manchester were involved in the development of the guidance, particularly the sections on Reduced Fetal Movement and Fetal Growth Restriction.
As part of this, a leaflet on reduced fetal movement, that was developed in part by Tommy's, is being launched and will be provided to all women by week 24 of their pregnancy. The leaflet will contain clear messaging consistent with national guidelines. It aims to tacke the mythology and inconsistent messaging that women are likely to experience in pregnancy around this topic, such as:
- the baby's movements slow down in the the third trimester because it runs out of room
- if the baby's has ten movements in a day it is fine
- women can't be checked at the weekend.
Providers will also be encouraged to have a clear process in place for women who do report reduced fetal movement.
Bringing together this clear focused package of guidance is another step towards reducing the unacceptable number of stillbirths in the UK and addressing the variation in rates across England.