Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study (MiNeSS)

Is there a link between the risk of stillbirth and babies’ movements, the mothers’ sleep position, cigarette smoking and the detection of small babies?

We have contributed £7,500 towards the Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study to test whether these factors really have an effect on stillbirth risk and whether there is any relationship between them.

Around 400 women who had a stillbirth at or after 28 weeks of their pregnancy (a single baby without a congenital abnormality) will complete an in-depth questionnaire and talk to a research midwife about their sleeping habits and other aspects of their pregnancy.

Their answers will be compared with those of a group of similar women who had healthy babies to see if there are important differences in the habits or experiences of the two groups.

In 2011 a research team in New Zealand completed a small study that looked at mothers’ activities, symptoms and problems in pregnancies. It found links between the risk of stillbirth and babies’ movements, the mothers’ sleep position, cigarette smoking and the detection of small babies.

However, further work was needed before any firm conclusions could be drawn.

The MiNeSS will be undertaken by the New Zealand research team in conjunction with researchers in England to repeat the study in the UK.