In pregnancy, a baby’s movements can be a sign of their health. For women whose pregnancy ended in stillbirth, up to half report that their baby’s movements in the womb changed or declined in the previous week. Teddy’s Wish, in partnership with Sands, funded the AFFIRM study (Awareness of Fetal movements Focussing Interventions Reduce Fetal Mortality).
The study aimed to find out if stillbirths could be reduced by promoting awareness of fetal movements among pregnant women and by introducing a package of care when women reported a change in movements. It analysed data from more than 400,000 pregnancies in 33 hospitals in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Researchers collected information on the number of stillbirths before and after the maternity units implemented the new package of care. They also collected information about associated care, such as induction of labour, caesarean sections and ultrasound scans, to see how those services were impacted.
Teddy’s Wish contributed £7,500
What did we find out?
- The results showed a small drop in stillbirth, 11% from 44 in 10,000 births to 41 in 10,000 births.
- More women in the group who received a package of care had induction of labour and caesarean sections.
- The study did not find a significant reduction in stillbirths by implementing the care package in maternity units. However, the 11% fall is important and doesn’t rule out that strategies to improve awareness of reduced fetal movements are effective in reducing stillbirth.
- Further information can be found in The Lancet and on The NIHR Dissemination Centre.