University of Manchester

Cutting the rate of stillborn births

The number of preventable stillborn babies across Manchester has fallen by 20% since 2011. This is as result of improvements in care driven by research led by Alex Heazell, Professor in Obstetrics and Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester. The aim is to achieve a 50% reduction by 2020.

Recent research by Professor Heazell found a link between reduced fetal movement and increased rates of stillbirth. This has resulted in a set of clinical guidelines for maternity health practitioners, identifying warning signs that might require intervention. The team also completed a study of more than 1,000 women which found that going to sleep on your back increases the risk of stillbirth after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

About one in 225 pregnancies in the UK ends in stillbirth and the research concluded that about 130 babies' lives a year could be saved if pregnant women go to sleep on their side.

Further reading