Openness and availability are key to success of QA unit

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The pain and grief experienced by those who suffer a stillbirth can only ever be understood by those who have been through it.

The rest of us can never know what it must feel like to carry a baby during pregnancy and then go through the devastation of losing that life before the baby is born.

So it is pleasing to report today that a special 24-hour service for pregnant women at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham has seen the number of stillborns more than halved in two years.

There has been a steady reduction ever since the Maternity Assessment Unit was set up and the rate for 2017 is projected to be 2.2 per 1,000 births.

This figure is proof that a national scheme to reduce the number of stillbirths has had a positive effect.

Indeed, so impressive is the work of the Maternity Assessment Unit that it was named winner in the Best Improvement category of QA’s recent Best People Awards.

The Saving Babies Care Bundle looks at reducing smoking in women, monitoring the growth of the baby, increasing awareness of reduced movements of the baby and monitoring movement during labour.

Mums are also encouraged to ask questions if there are any changes to the baby’s movement. This openness and all-hours availability means that concerns can be voiced and addressed straight away.

Of course, there’s still a long way to go. There are around 3,600 stillbirths in the UK each year, according to the NHS. Eleven babies are stillborn every day, making it 15 times more common than cot death.

The challenge is to keep on reducing the number of stillbirths – and we’re sure the dedicated team at the QA will be doing all they can to make that happen.