The AFFIRM trial for prevention of stillbirth

Professor Jane Norman, Dr Sarah Stock, Professor Alexander Heazell

Researchers supported by Tommy’s are looking at whether a package of care and resources for pregnant women can help stop stillbirths.

This research study is now complete

Rates of stillbirth in Scotland are among the highest in countries that are rich in resources – the Lancet ranks it as 24th out of 29 developed countries. Tommy's believes that this is unacceptable. So we are helping to support a trial to try and prevent stillbirths from happening.

Most of the time, stillborn babies appear to have grown completely normally. Often, it is only discovered after birth that there was something wrong with the placenta: the organ that provides babies with the oxygen and nutrients that they need in the womb. An early sign that something might have gone wrong is if a mother notices that her baby is moving less than usual – this is known as reduced fetal movement.

The AFFIRM trial aims to see whether a simple care bundle can reduce stillbirths by raising awareness of, and acting on, reduced fetal movement.

The AFFIRM care package is made up of:

  • an information resource for pregnant women raising awareness of monitoring reduced fetal movements
  • more investigation and clinical help when babies are moving less than normal.

The chance that a baby would be stillborn dropped by 30% when a similar package was introduced in Norway.

This study has generated huge interest, and involves around 450,000 pregnant women across the UK. The trial is now running in all participating sites, and the results are expected to be published early in 2018.

So far, rates of stillbirth in Edinburgh have fallen from 4.4 to 3.1 per 1,000 since the introduction of the AFFIRM intervention.

Movements Matter

Our #movementsmatter campaign is also helping to raise awareness of how changes in your babies’ movements might mean they aren’t well. So far 5 million people have watched and shared the #movementsmatter video - add your voice and help us spread this vital message!

Update 27/09/2018

The AFFIRM trial has now concluded. Read about the results of the AFFIRM trial into whether a package of care and resources for pregnant women can help prevent stillbirths.

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Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for pregnancy complications and loss. We can keep you updated on our research news.  If you're interested in being kept updated about our research and news from Tommy's, click here.


This study takes place in two of Tommy's centres and is funded by Tommy's, Sands charity and Chief Scientist Office Scotland

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jun 2017 - 11:04

      Hi, the most up to date advice with regards to fetal movements would be that if a woman has any concerns about the movement of her baby after 24 weeks, then they need to call their local maternity hospital and be seen by a midwife. Babies movements should not slow down towards the end of pregnancy and every baby is individual so movements will be experienced differently by any woman. Please visit our website for more information about fetal movements
      Hope this helps, Take Care Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Jun 2017 - 21:43

      Are there any up-to-date recommendations for warning mums to be about changes to fetal movement patterns?

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