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How a UK Healthcare Donation Could Help Tommy’s to Predict and Prevent Stillbirth

It’s heartbreaking to think that one in four families in the UK will suffer the loss of a baby. Thankfully, Tommy’s the stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage charity is working hard to improve these numbers.

UK Healthcare donates thousands of pounds to health related charities every year, as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting great causes. When the opportunity arose to lend a helping hand to the Tommy’s charity we were more than happy to do so. Since then, we’ve helped them out even more. Last year, we provided Tommy’s with a third donation of £5,000, safe in the knowledge that they would put it to amazing use.

Their work is truly pioneering and we are now delighted to announce that the team at Tommy’s have given us an update on their good work.

The funds that Tommy’s raised from UK Healthcare and other generous patrons funded the set up costs of a new clinical trial run out of the group’s research centres in Manchester and Edinburgh. This innovative study monitors baby movements in order to observe patterns and predict stillbirth.

If successful, the study could reduce stillbirth cases in the UK by 25-30%. That would be enough to save the lives of 1,000 babies every year.

So, how does it work?

When a pregnant woman notices that her baby is not moving as much as it used to, this could be a sign that the baby is experiencing difficulty. For this reason, reduced movement could be seen a warning sign for stillbirth.  But even with the ability to predict infant mortality, it is necessary to respond quickly.

Most women don’t appreciate the potential significance of the signs and according to Tommy’s just 5% of clinicians would refer women for tests on the basis of a reduction in baby movement.

The Tommy’s Trial aims to reduce stillbirth by educating women on their baby’s movements and introducing official protocols which maternity teams will follow in the event that a pregnant woman reports reduced movement.

As Dr Alex Heazell, Clinical Director at Tommy’s research centre in Manchester, explains there is a precedent for the study and reasons to believe that it will be as success.

He said: “When a trial like ours was run in Norway, stillbirth rates in the area fell by 30% but a clinical trial is needed to test the efficacy of the intervention and implications for service delivery.

“By the end of our three year project, 150,000 pregnant women will have access to our unique care package from 37 maternity units all over the UK. But we rely on the generosity of people and businesses like UK Healthcare to make this a reality.

“That’s why we’re so grateful for their ongoing support.”

If you would like to find out more about Tommy’s and their invaluable work, head over to http://tommys.org.

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