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02/06/2015
BBC Radio 5 live
The 5 live blog

UK has ‘one of the worst’ stillbirth rates in developed world

By Nicole Regan-White whose baby was stillborn

Our first child, Jessica, was, tragically, stillborn on Christmas Eve at full-term.

We’d had what was deemed by midwives as a textbook pregnancy, but when we arrived at the hospital during labour we were told that our daughter had died.

We couldn’t comprehend what was happening, and three days later Jessica arrived at 10:43pm on Christmas Eve weighing 5lbs 10 oz. We were able to spend a precious couple of hours with her. If I hadn’t got to meet Jessica it would have been the biggest regret of my life.

We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the love and support given to us in our darkest days by our family, friends, colleagues and our bereavement midwife.

There is always someone worse off than you and this was evident when I went to my first SANDS (stillbirth and neonatal death charity) support meeting. There were parents there that had lost their only chance of being parents, and it made me grateful. We're healthy and young enough to try again.

As an expectant parent I devoured information to help with the wellbeing of our child, but the risks of stillbirth was never highlighted.

The UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world, and with a 1 in 200 chance of a stillbirth occurring, is ranked 33 out of 35 developed counties.

I am now actively supporting awareness of stillbirth in the UK to try to reduce rates through supporting charities and research via fundraising, and raising awareness in the media and best practice in training.

...

On Wednesday 14 May at 10am Victoria Derbyshire will discuss how many UK hospitals have failed to adopt new care standards to help prevent stillbirths, even though it has been proved that these measures save babies' lives.

Victoria Derbyshire programme 10 -12

Comments

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  • Comment number 5. Posted by Tegans Mum

    on 16 May 2014 16:15

    We thought we could do nothing about cot death 20 years ago and look how that has changed. I am surprised if you have experienced this that you can see one life as more important than another surely both situations are worthy of being in the public eye and research being invested in?

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  • Comment number 4. Posted by carrie

    on 15 May 2014 13:48

    Tegan's Mum - no cause found after your textbook pregnancy and sad loss. I am very sorry - I too experienced this - but really the research in to cot deaths is to me far more important as you can do nothing about a sudden death at birth.

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by Charlotte Bevan

    on 14 May 2014 13:09

    It’s great to hear the subject of stillbirths being given proper air time on Radio 5 Live and thank you to those brave parents who spoke. These are all too often unrecognised tragedies. As Professor Gardosi says we need to pick up on those babies who don’t grow as they should and deliver them safely and his GAP programme is helping to do that. We also need to know exactly why those babies aren’t growing properly, and why some babies who do appear to grow well, still die? Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, has spent half a million on research in the past 5 years thanks to fundraising from many dedicated supporters, such as Nicole, but it will take much more to answer these questions. As Lisa described many parents have to give birth to their stillborn baby on labour wards where they can hear other women give birth to live babies. We know from a recent national survey of bereaved parents that many mums are given rooms, after their baby has died, on wards where they can hear live babies crying. This kind of experience – which is the result of a lack of bereavement suites and bereavement midwives - compounds the tragedy of losing a baby. Trusts desperately need to resource and co-ordinate their bereavement and post natal care for families to ensure the best support available in every hopsital.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Tegans Mum

    on 14 May 2014 09:50

    My daughter, my first child, was stillborn last November after a textbook good pregnancy. We opted for a full post mortem and tests but no cause was found. There are just too many stillbirths in this country that could possibly be avoided. Why are 11 babies a day dying in the UK? Why have other countries managed to reduce their rates of stillbirth and we haven't? It is shocking that we have such big statistics compared to other countries. Without charities such as Tommy's and SANDS parents such as myself would not have any hope for the future. We need to talk about stillbirth and raise awareness so that like Cot death, research can be improved and little lives saved. I miss my daughter constantly, it is a pain beyond comparison, a lifetime lost before she even took a breath.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by DrSarah

    on 13 May 2014 21:23

    Victoria it's great to see this issue highlighted. It's taboo, yet common. Completely devastating to families, and unlike most grief, often hidden and destructive.
    I will never lose the pain of delivering my first baby, it is part of who I am.
    Research is lacking. Support often too. As a GP , the positive outcome being my own practice and understanding.

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