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Saving babies lives

Changes to care for pregnant women at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust (MYHT) has meant more ‘at risk’ pregnancies can be identified and perinatal morality reduced. 

Foetal growth restriction (FGR) is an important risk factor for stillbirth. Detection of FGR during pregnancy is vital and has been shown to reduce stillbirth risk significantly, allowing medical professionals and expectant parents the option to consider timely delivery of babies at risk.

A team of obstetricians, midwives and sonographers at MYHT launched a project to ensure early detection of FGR for women and their babies receiving care at their hospitals. Previously, clinicians would rely on a patient’s history alone to try identify pregnancies at risk of FGR.

Following training, development and additional recruitment, the collaborative team introduced an additional scan at approximately 22-23 weeks of pregnancy for women who were considered as having a high-risk pregnancy, to look at blood flow to the placenta using a uterine artery (a blood vessel that supplies blood to the uterus) Doppler measurement.

This investigation helps the team assign urgent care to women with abnormal blood flow results and allows the service to offer additional growth scans later in the woman’s pregnancy at 28, 32, 36 and 40 weeks. It also identifies women at a higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.

Women with normal blood flow results following the additional scan will still receive further scans at 32, 36 and 40 weeks. The additional foetal growth scanning until full-term better identifies those women who have later onset FGR, who previously may have been missed.

This new way of working allows women with low risk pregnancies to receive shared care within their community, whilst identifying pregnancies at the very highest risk who may need intervention; such as induction of labour or early caesarean section. The process also minimises intervention for women and babies who do not need it.

Len Richards, Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said;

“The driving force behind this project was to reduce the risk of stillbirth and provide the best care for expectant mothers.

“MYHT employees are compassionate, hardworking and committed to offering expert care.

“The success of the project was down to multi-disciplinary collaboration, adherence to governance processes, effective communications and engagement between departments, and the willingness of all involved to devote their time and energy in to upping their skills.

I am proud to work with such dedicated colleagues.”


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