The guidance is part of ambitious plans by NHS England to make maternity care safer and more personal.
It also builds on the success the first version of the maternity care action plan released in 2016, that is recognised as contributing to a historical low stillbirth rate in England.
The latest guidance was developed with support from key stakeholders, including Tommy's CEO Jane Brewin and clinical leads at Tommy’s research centres, and brings together key elements of care, based on best available evidence and practice in order to help reduce stillbirth rates. It also introduces a new focus on reducing preterm births.
Each element has a specific action plan against it with the aim of making maternity care safer and saving babies' lives. They are:
- reducing smoking in pregnancy
- closer monitoring of fetal growth restriction particularly for women at risk
- raising public awareness of reduced fetal movement
- effective fetal monitoring during labour
- reducing preterm birth
Jane Brewin, Chief Executive at Tommy’s’ said she was delighted with the launch of Saving Babies Lives Version 2.
‘Tommy’s believes every baby lost is one too many which is why we are working to improve maternity care across the UK.
‘Tommy’s research centres have been involved in almost every aspect of the plan and we know that when this is implemented around the NHS, more babies’ lives will be saved.
'We are particularly pleased to see the inclusion of the preterm birth prevention measures – the evaluation of the previous version of Saving Babies Lives showed that whilst stillbirth declined by 20%, preterm birth increased as babies were delivered earlier to minimise stillbirth risk.
‘Actions to reduce both stillbirth and preterm birth will ensure that more babies are born healthy and at full term which gives every baby the best start in life.”
Matthew Jolly National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women’s Health, NHS England said the success of the document ultimately rest on its implementation. He added: ‘The NHS Long Term Plan reiterates the NHS’s commitment to a 50% reduction in stillbirth, maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and serious brain injury and a reduction in preterm birth rate, from 8% to 6%, by 2025.’
1 in every 225 births ends in a stillbirth in the UK. That's 9 babies every day.
A preterm birth is one that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Globally, more than 1 in 10 pregnancies will end in preterm birth.
Statistics about early miscarriage, late miscarriage, recurrent miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.