Stillborn Babies | Preventing Stillbirth | Action Medical Research | Action Medical Research

Stillbirth

Around 3,900 babies are stillborn each year in the UK – 2.6 million worldwide.

The UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates of high-income countries, with around 11 babies being stillborn every day. The rate has hardly decreased since 1990. Stillbirth often happens unexpectedly, with no obvious explanation. Many parents want to know why their baby has died, whether it might happen again if they try for another baby and what they can do to stop it.

Nina and her husband, pictured with sons Jake and Ryan, had been married for 16 years when they had their first son Jake, following a problem-free pregnancy. They decided to try for another child but Nina had two miscarriages before falling pregnant again.

At 37 weeks Nina went for a routine check-up but the doctors told her they had bad news. “That day will never leave me. It was Thursday and the shock of suddenly realising there will be no baby to bring home was awful,” says Nina. Their daughter, Brook, was stillborn on the Friday at 7pm. They hugged her until 9pm, and then held a funeral for her on the Sunday. Later that year Nina became pregnant again and was so worried she went to see a specialist. Ryan was induced early at 36 weeks but thankfully was a healthy 9lb 5oz.

We are funding research to help investigate the causes of stillbirth.

Twin-twin transfusion syndrome: developing a new way to help babies who are struggling in the womb

Research date: 1 January 2014 - 31 July 2016
Grant amount: £102,258.00

Estimates suggest that around 10 per cent of identical twins develop a serious condition called twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), which strikes while babies are in the womb.1-3 This condition can be very dangerous for babies, causing premature birth, death and disability. Dr Christoph Lees, of Queen Charlottes’s and Chelsea Hospital, Imperial...

Stillbirth: searching for ways to protect babies from the tragedy of being stillborn

Research date: 1 October 2013 - 31 December 2017
Grant amount: £191,080.00

Around 3,900 babies are stillborn each year in the UK – 2.6 million worldwide – bringing heartbreak to their bereaved families.1-5 Losing a baby in such tragic circumstances is deeply upsetting and the grief can be overwhelming. Dr Alexander Heazell, of the University of Manchester, is leading a team of researchers who are investigating...

Fetal growth restriction: new hope for babies whose growth becomes dangerously slow in the womb

Research date: 1 May 2014 - 30 June 2016
Grant amount: £199,962.00

Up to eight per cent of pregnant women find their baby develops fetal growth restriction – a serious complication of pregnancy, which can be very dangerous for unborn babies.1 Sadly, the most severely affected babies can be stillborn or die soon after birth. Those who survive are at risk of developing lifelong problems such as cerebral palsy and...

Stillbirth and other pregnancy complications: predicting who’s at risk

Research date: 1 March 2013 - 28 February 2015
Grant amount: £133,955.00

Research Training Fellowship*: Dr Lucy E Higgins Around 4,000 babies are stillborn each year in the UK, over 60,000 are born prematurely and many others stop growing properly within the womb.1-7 Dr Lucy Higgins, of the University of Manchester, is looking for a way to identify these babies during pregnancy so they can get early help. She is taking her...

Other related information

Saving babies at risk of stillbirth

Posted: 19 April 2016 12:24 pm
Research funded by Action has shown that new tests can help identify more babies who are at high risk of being stillborn, giving doctors a vital window of opportunity to intervene and potentially save lives. Up to 65 per cent of stillbirths are linked to problems with the mother’s placenta, which is vital for providing oxygen and nutrients to the...

The sadness of stillbirth

Posted: 9 October 2013 08:03 am
Nina McConnell and her husband had been married for 16 years when they had their first son Jake, following a problem-free pregnancy. They decided to try for another child but Nina had two miscarriages before falling pregnant again. Everything seemed to be going really well and Jake was looking forward to meeting the baby. He wanted a sister and...

Stillbirth and other pregnancy complications: predicting who's at risk

Posted: 21 June 2013 16:08 pm
Dr Lucy Higgins, of the Maternal and Fetal Research Centre at the University of Manchester, has been awarded a Research Training Fellowship by children’s charity Action Medical Research to research stillbirth. Around 4,000 babies are stillborn each year in the UK. Dr Higgins is looking for a way to identify these babies during pregnancy...

Charity funds 60 years quality medical research in Oxford and Cambridge to help prevent suffering of babies and children

Posted: 5 January 2012 10:53 am
Children’s charity Action Medical Research is celebrating investing more than £100 million into vital medical research over the past 60 years, which has led to some key scientific breakthroughs to help reduce the suffering of sick babies and children. Research funded over the years has included pioneering work carried out across Oxford and...

West Sussex charity celebrates 60 years of investing in top medical research to help prevent the suffering of sick babies and children

Posted: 5 January 2012 10:50 am
Horsham-based children’s charity, Action Medical Research, is celebrating investing more than £100 million into vital medical research over the past 60 years, which has led to some key scientific breakthroughs to help reduce the suffering of sick babies and children. The charity was originally founded in 1952, by Duncan Guthrie, in his quest...

Cambridge researchers awarded grant to investigate the causes of stillbirth

Posted: 3 November 2011 15:30 pm
A team of top researchers from Cambridge have been awarded a grant of more than £160,000 from children’s charity Action Medical Research, to investigate the causes of stillbirth. The charity has been supporting significant medical breakthroughs for nearly 60 years, and has today announced the grant of £165,529 to the Department of...

“Stop itching” drug for liver disease mums may help reduce risk of stillbirth in their babies

Posted: 26 October 2010 09:18 am
Researchers funded by children’s health charity Action Medical Research have discovered that a drug given to pregnant women for severe itching – a symptom of a liver disease which can cause stillbirth – could also help to lower the risk of stillbirth itself.

One pregnant woman in every 200 in the UK develops a liver disease...

Fetal surveillance system could alert doctors to high-risk pregnancies

Posted: 4 October 2010 10:20 am
One in every 200 babies is stillborn in the UK – that’s 11 every day. Losing an infant is heartbreaking for its grieving parents who struggle to accept why their child died. Babies of women with conditions such as pre-eclampsia and diabetes, and babies who grow slowly in the womb, are known to be at risk, but the causes of stillbirth are largely...

Top surveillance experts drafted in to help save babies’ lives

Posted: 13 August 2010 08:32 am
Top surveillance experts - whose skills are normally used to analyse moving images such as CCTV footage – have joined forces with maternity doctors in a unique project - funded by children’s health charity Action Medical Research – to try to find a way to prevent stillbirth.This unique research team is hoping to harness the skills and...
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