Sands has welcomed a new report which says stillbirth rates in the West Midlands have fallen below the national average for the first time in 50 years. The report from the West Midlands Perinatal Institute says the decrease is a result of a programme which was undertaken with other regional stakeholders, which helps to improve the recognition of babies who are not growing well during pregnancy.

The Institute, which identified poor fetal growth as the most common and potentially avoidable cause of stillbirth, developed and pioneered the use of ‘customised growth charts’ which can predict a baby’s ideal growth curve in the womb. Professor Jason Gardosi, director of the West Midlands Perinatal Institute, said midwives and doctors across the region had become better at identifying and investigating babies at risk, and as a result there had been fewer deaths because of fetal growth restriction.

The programme led to 21 fewer deaths in Birmingham alone last year, and Professor Gardosi estimates that if applied to the whole of England and Wales, stillbirths could be reduced by up to 800 each year.

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To read the full report from the West Midlands Perinatal Insitute, click here