The AFFIRM trial for prevention of stillbirth

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

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 care package is made up of an information resource for pregnant women, as well as 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.

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!

Researchers

Professor Jane Norman, Dr Sarah Stock, Professor Alexander Heazell

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Funding

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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