The placenta is a babies life support system, but does not get assessed for low risk mothers. By checking the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby, lives can be saved.

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    The placenta is a babies life support system

    It supplies the baby with the oxygen and nutrients that they need to thrive.

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    Routine antenatal care does not assess the placenta

    The blood supply to the baby is never assessed for supposedly ‘low risk’ mothers – it is left to chance. Yet placenta problems are the largest cause of stillbirth.

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    Doppler scans spot the babies at risk

    Stillbirth attributed to placental dysfunction has been strongly associated with abnormal uterine artery doppler readings in the second trimester. In the third trimester, comparing the blood flow in the umbilical cord and the supply to the babies brain can identify babies likely to get into distress.

“We have demonstrated through extensive research that you can identify more than 90 per cent of those cases from the 12-week assessment. We can easily avoid them and we can do so through very simple adjustments in the way we deliver antenatal care.”Prof Kypros Nicolaides, speaking on Panorama

Already saving lives

St George’s offers the scan to all first-time mothers at 20 weeks.

Since this introduction, the hospital has seen its stillbirth rate drop by 50% in three years.

The price of life