MAMA Academy – Reducing Stillbirth in the UK

MAMA Academy was set up in 2012 to help more babies arrive safely as the United Kingdom has one of the highest stillbirth rates in the developed world.

Sadly, over 5700 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every year in the UK, which amounts to 100 every week and figures are only just now starting to decrease for the first time in 20 years.

A report published in The Lancet medical journal in April 2011 concluded that a substantial proportion of stillbirths are potentially preventable as they occur so close to term. If babies at risk of being stillborn were identified, they could be delivered early, preventing a tragic outcome. An update on this report will be published later this year.

Stillbirth is a taboo subject that is not talked about. Healthcare professionals and bereaved parents don’t like to talk about it in case of causing unnecessary anxiety. Therefore, many parents are unaware how common stillbirth is and don’t understand the importance in reporting problematic symptoms without delay.

The other challenge is inconsistent care and advice. Many midwives still believe that nothing can be done to prevent stillbirth, that it’s just one of those things. We want to change these attitudes through our study day presentations to teach midwives how they play a vital role in reducing stillbirth.

MAMA Academy is positive about pregnancy and committed to raising awareness of what can be done to help save babies’ lives. By equipping expectant mums with empowering pregnancy education, we can help put them more in control of their pregnancy. We are also passionate about supporting midwives in their practice by keeping them up to date with current research and guidelines to aid consistent maternity care. We work closely with The Royal College of Midwives to ensure we provide accurate educational information and best practice guidance to enable midwives to offer the highest standard of care for all women. We also have a prestigious medical team that write our website content.

Our Made to Measure campaign aims to save 1000 babies’ lives every year by calling on all UK hospital trusts to adopt the Perinatal Institute’s GAP programme. GAP uses customised growth charts alongside a package of training and support to better detect growth restricted babies, a key risk factor for stillbirth.

We are working closely with NHS England to provide our Wellbeing Wallets to thousands of expectant mums within many UK trusts. The wallets are designed to keep antenatal notes safe and are printed with important educational messages for a healthy pregnancy, given to mums by their midwives at their booking in appointment. The advice is regularly read whilst mums wait for appointments in antenatal clinics, making the knowledge second nature. They also help midwives start conversations with mums on vital pregnancy topics.

We have produced a mini training video for midwives on how to accurately measure symphysis fundal height, a vital skill to correctly plot baby’s growth on a customised chart. We plan to make more training video’s on other topics in the future.

Everyday, we work to make sure that women and midwives in the UK understand stillbirths and are better prepared to help prevent them. We have an exciting year ahead of us and encourage you to visit our new website and follow us on Facebook. Please email us at regarding our Wellbeing Wallets.

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