1. ITV Report

Charity launches film to help bereaved couples who suffer stillbirth

Scene from the film launched by Abigail's Footsteps today Photo: Abigail's Footsteps

A charity that works to improve bereavement care for parents who suffer a stillbirth has released a short film they hope will be used as an education tool in the NHS.

Abigail's Footsteps was founded four years ago by Jo and David Ward in memory of their daughter Abigail, who died a day after her due date.

Here is an excerpt from the video:

Jo and David hope the video will be seen by midwives and other hospital staff as a starting point for further training, leading to improvements in bereavement care.

Facts of stillbirths in the UK:

  • A stillbirth is a baby born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy
  • On average, 11 expectant couples learn that their baby is stillborn every day
  • This amounts to more than 4,000 stillbirths a year
  • This is the third highest rate in Europe
  • Around two-thirds of stillbirths are linked to undetected problems with the placenta


Jo and David explained to ITV News how their own experience spurred them into action:

NHS England's clinical director for maternity, Catherine Calderwood gave the following statement:

Compassion and understanding is key to supporting parents through such a difficult experience. We need to get this right every time across the NHS. We are therefore working closely with parents' support groups to improve bereavement care.