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Calls for extra scans to reduce stillbirths

A Cumbrian mother is calling for all women to be given a scan in the final 10 weeks of pregnancy. Most "low risk" women have their last scan at around 20 weeks.

Amanda Irving's son Alex was stillborn in 2013 but she believes his death could have been prevented.

One in every 200 births in the UK ends in stillbirth.

90% of babies who are stillborn have no congenital abnormality

One in three stillbirths happen at or near term when babies could survive if they were delivered

Amanda says stillbirths remain a taboo subject and she's speaking out to try to change that.

Katie Hunter reports:

Stillbirth: help is available

One in every 200 births in the UK ends in stillbirth.

If you've been affected by the tragedy of stillbirth, there are support networks available.

They can help you by providing advice, and connecting you to support groups.

  • Sands - a stillbirth and neonatal death charity, Sands provides emotional support through telephone, email and support groups.
  • Tommy's - funds research into stillbirth, and provides information for those who have been affected.
  • The Lullaby Trust - offers a telephone helpline for parents who have been bereaved.

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Cumbrian mum calls for extra pregnancy scan

Amanda Irving and her second child Annie Credit: ITV Border

A Cumbrian mum says all pregnant women should have an additional scan in the final 10 weeks of pregnancy.

At the moment most "low risk" women have their last scan at around 20 weeks.

Amanda Irving's son, Alex, was stillborn in 2013. She went on to have a healthy baby girl, Annie, this year.

She believes a scan in the later stages of her pregnancy would have saved her son's life.

NHS Cumbria says 'more can be done' on stillbirths and infant mortality

A report has found that although the number of stillbirths and infant mortality cases in Cumbria are declining, more can still be done to prevent deaths.

The NHS Cumbria report shows the county has fewer perinatal deaths than the national average, but urges local hospitals and expectant mothers to help reduce the number further.

The research panel have recommended that tackling lifestyle issues such as smoking and obesity can help give the mother and child the best chance of survival.

They also suggest that local hospitals carry out more individual case reviews in order to learn from what has happened.

"The number of babies in Cumbria who die shortly before or soon after birth is a tiny proportion of 5,000 births which take place in the county each year.

"The findings from this research are clear in demonstrating the damaging and destructive impact a poor lifestyle can have on a healthy pregnancy. More must be done to reduce smoking and obesity in particular, if we are to see greater improvements in the health of mothers and babies."

– Professor John Ashton, Cumbria Medical Director