Baby loss charity Aching Arms has welcomed the news that new guidance is to be published in an attempt to cut stillbirth rates in England.
Doctors, midwives and parents will be issued with the guidelines – called the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle – by NHS England as an example of the best standard of care.
The focus will be on reducing smoking in pregnancy, raising awareness of how to monitor a baby’s movements and improving foetal monitoring during labour.
There are currently about 665,000 babies born in England each year and more than 3,000 stillbirths, according to the NHS.
Leanne Turner, charity co-ordinator for Aching Arms, which helps families at Kettering General Hospital, said: “It is incomprehensible that a healthy baby is stillborn and so we welcome any measures taken to reduce the number of stillbirths in the UK.
“The loss of a baby is devastating.
“Every day at Aching Arms we see the heartbreak parents experience when their baby dies.
“It is important that everyone involved in maternity care works together to achieve the reduction in stillbirths.
“I believe the focus should be on improved care during the later stages of pregnancy and on increased monitoring in labour.
“Mothers should be able to voice their concerns if they feel something is wrong or if there is reduced movement of their baby and health professionals should listen and have the resources they need to act on that information and potentially save that baby’s life.
“More funding is needed and further research should be carried out to ensure better outcomes for babies and mothers in England.”
Aching Arms aims to bring comfort following the loss of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or shortly afterwards through its teddy bear donation scheme.
The charity provides bears to 36 hospitals across England and Wales and also sends bears directly on request.
The bears are all donated in memory of another baby and are given as comforters to those who have lost their baby.
Each bear comes with a label that gives the name of the baby it is dedicated in memory of as well as directing parents to the charity’s website www.achingarms.co.uk where grieving parents can find links to access further support.
The charity also aims to raise awareness of the impact of baby loss and offers free awareness training to health professionals.