Sands and Tommy’s are delighted to announce joint-funding for a new research project.

The study, led by Dr Elizabeth Camacho at the University of Manchester, will look at the cost-effectiveness of a package of care for pregnant women when their baby’s movements are reduced.

A reduction in a baby’s movements can be a warning sign of problems in pregnancy.

This study builds on the work of a recently-completed research trial which tested whether stillbirths are reduced by this package of care.

It combines promoting awareness of fetal movements among pregnant women, with a focussed treatment approach when women report a reduction in their baby’s movements.

It’s also important to know if the care package is cost-effective or not, to inform decisions about whether to implement the care package across NHS Trusts and Health Boards.

This new study will estimate the cost of providing the care package and also the cost of interventions, such as scans or induction of labour which may be used more or less as a consequence of the care package.

The study will explore how much it might cost to roll out the package of care across the NHS and how many stillbirths may be prevented at that scale.

Sands and Tommy’s are passionately committed to supporting research that will reduce stillbirths.

We hope this work will provide important information which can be used by service planners to improve care to prevent avoidable baby deaths.

Tommy’s are contributing £26,892 to this work. A further £26,892 has been contributed by Sands which includes a generous donation of £7,500 from Teddy's Wish.

Our chief executive, Dr Clea Harmer, said: “Reducing baby deaths is core to Sands work. At least one in three of the parents we support tell us that their baby’s movements had slowed down or changed in the womb before they died. It’s vital that pregnant women are aware and feel empowered to report any concerns straightaway and that health care professionals have the right guidance to respond appropriately. We hope that this study will add important new information to the evidence base for implementing the right care package for expectant families.”

Jennifer Reid, Co Founder of Teddy's Wish, said: “Teddy’s Wish are committed in helping to reduce the numbers of babies lost each year. Many babies lost to stillbirth could have been prevented, and those families could have been saved the devastating loss of their child. We hope that the care package resulting from this study will raise further awareness of the risks of reduced movement in pregnancy and ensure more babies will be delivered safely.”

Jane Brewin, Chief Executive at Tommy’s, said: “Robust evidence is needed to further persuade the NHS that it is worthwhile investing in preventing stillbirth by alerting mothers to reduced fetal movements and taking their concerns seriously when they present at hospital. We must remember that parents never recover from losing a baby and their distress is compounded by knowing that their baby might have lived if issues were detected in time.”

Dr Elizabeth Camacho said: "The funding from Sands and Tommy's will allow us to answer important questions about the cost-effectiveness of this care package without which the people who choose which healthcare services to provide cannot make an informed decision. I'm looking forward to making a new contribution to what we know about monitoring movements as a strategy to reduce stillbirths and working with a great team of experts in this area.

Professor Alexander Heazell said: “As well as understanding whether changes to women’s care in pregnancy improve outcomes it is also important to know whether they are cost-effective. This project will use information from the AFFIRM study, the largest study of a care package about reduced fetal movements, to understand the implications of rolling this strategy out into the NHS. This information will help us develop strategies to improve outcomes for mothers and babies which can be implemented in our clinical work."