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Call for action over stillbirth rate

More could - and should - be done to reduce the rate of stillbirths in Wales, according to the National Assembly's Health and Social Care committee. The Welsh Government says it is working with the NHS to reduce the stillbirth rate.

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Raising awareness of stillbirth should be a priority

The National Assembly's health and social care committee makes nine recommendations in its report, including that the Welsh Government:

  • takes an active lead in developing key public health messages as a matter of priority
  • works with professional bodies and health boards to ensure that all expectant parents receive adequate information about stillbirth and associated risks
  • commissions work on the underlying causes of stillbirth

It is crucial that we have more continuity of care in maternity services. When women know their midwives they are more likely to be able to discuss difficult issues such as stillbirths. The midwife is also more likely to spot problems developing during the pregnancy.

– Julia Chandler, Royal College of Midwives

The Welsh Government says it is working with the NHS to reduce the stillbirth rate and the National Stillbirth Working Group is working as part of the Welsh Initiative for Stillbirth Reduction to improve outcomes in pregnancy.

Smoking during pregnancy and maternal obesity are avoidable risk factors, and these are being addressed via the Welsh Government's Strategic Vision for Maternity Services in Wales.

Family history and a whole range of other clinical details are part of the clinical review of every stillbirth undertaken by the All Wales Perinatal Survey, and we want data gathering to continue to be as comprehensive as possible to increase our knowledge about avoidable factors.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

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