Your baby’s movements matter – reducing stillbirth

Midwives at our Maternity Units are introducing initiatives to improve information for parents-to-be on the importance of being aware of their baby’s movements as we embrace national guidelines about reducing rates of stillbirth. Although stillbirth rates have fallen over recent years, current rates indicate that one in every 200 babies is stillborn - that's more than 3,600 nationally every year. 

Assistant Director of Maternity & Fertility Services Dawn Morrall said: "As midwives we witness first-hand the devastating impact of these deaths. Every stillbirth is a tragedy for the families involved, and we would like to see a reduction in these sad events at our hospitals. 

"During pregnancy, feeling your baby move reassures you that they are well. In some cases, a baby's normal pattern of movements may change because they are unwell - around half of women who had a stillbirth felt that their baby's movements had slowed down or stopped. 

"We have developed this campaign to help women recognise signs and symptoms that may concern them, and our message is clear: never hesitate to contact your midwife or local maternity unit for advice, no matter how many times this may be. 

"We're using the simple acronym ACT - Active, Change in movements and Tell someone to raise awareness amongst women and to ensure that movements are discussed in a consistent way at every contact with a health professional. We have developed our own posters and leaflets to support the campaign and will be using social media to reinforce the message." 

The Maternity team has been strengthening the four main themes within the national Saving Babies Lives guidance. This guidance is part of a Government drive to halve the rate of stillbirths across the UK by 2030. The guidance brings together four key elements of care based on best practice and evidence in order to help reduce stillbirth rates: these themes include further support for women to help reduce smoking in pregnancy (a major factor in stillbirth), increasing surveillance of babies growth during pregnancy, providing specialist advice and information around babies movement in pregnancy and monitoring of baby's heart rate during labour.

See our maternity pages for more details.