We don’t need to find a new miracle vaccine to prevent the majority of stillbirths – we already have the science. But further research will address remaining gaps and help overcome the paralysis of inaction.
Stillbirth is a neglected area of medical research, receiving much less attention than pregnancy complications – despite being the fatal outcome.
Examples of the key questions, and work ongoing
The centre is the first of its kind in the UK to combine specialised antenatal care for pregnancies affected by fetal growth restriction with frontline research into why the condition occurs and how it might be treated.
The centre has a wide range of ongoing research projects.
Starting in January 2014, 36 participating maternity units one by one started implementing protocols for giving information to mothers about the importance of keeping tack of a baby’s movements during pregnancy, with a consistent action plan to follow if a mother expresses concern.
There is already evidence that this makes a difference. A similar study in Norway published in 2009 found that the stillbirth rate was almost halved in women who reported a change in movements promptly and the pathway was followed.
The study will end in March 2017.