Start: January 2014
End: June 2020
Why do we need this research?
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.
Tommy’s have been supporting a trial to try and prevent stillbirth from happening, by focusing on women who report their babies are moving less than normal.
The AFFIRM trial
The AFFIRM trial, which ran from 2014 to 2016, aimed to see whether a simple ‘care bundle’ can reduce stillbirths by raising awareness of, and acting on, reduced fetal movement.
The AFFIRM care package was made up of:
- information for pregnant women raising awareness of monitoring reduced fetal movements
- more tests and clinical help when babies are moving less than normal.
The study generated huge interest, involving around 450,000 pregnant women across the UK. The results of the AFFIRM trial showed a small drop in the rate of stillbirth among women receiving the care package. However, this drop wasn’t large enough to be completely certain that it was caused by the care package, rather than being caused by chance.