Why stillbirth remains a mystery
Published: 7th Aug 2012 11:47:37
The fourth child of Gary Barlow and his wife Dawn has been delivered stillborn.
The couple have said they are "devastated" after the birth of Poppy on Saturday.
But the Barlows are far from alone in suffering such a tragic experience.
Stillbirth rates in the UK are higher than almost every other high-income country.
There are over 4,000 stillbirths every year in the UK - the equivalent of 11 per day.
That equates to 3.5 per 1,000 births which, according to a Lancet study last year, means only France and Austria had worst rates among richer nations.
Not talked about
But Prof Andy Shennan, consultant obstetrician for baby charity Tommy's, says there is a lack of awareness over stillbirths.
"The subject is terribly taboo - I think because of the emotions from expectation at a very wonderful time to devastation, from one extreme to the other.
"I also think mothers feel they have failed, or done something wrong. In my hospital we have dedicated rooms downstairs for dead babies which are almost permanently in use. It is a real issue."
There are many researchers with ideas for different approaches, but there is a dearth of funding”
However, despite years of research there is still much which remains unknown about the issue.
While problems with the placenta, which can affect the growth of the foetus, infections and congential abnormalities are all known causes of stillbirths, for a third of cases there is no known reason.
There are also risk factors which can increase the risk of stillbirth. Smoking and drinking during pregnancy can increase susceptibility, as can being overweight or obese, or having children later in life.
Previous caesarean sections can also increase risk, as can multiple births.
Lack of funding
Janet Scott, head of research at Sands, a stillbirth charity, says: "There is still a lack of knowledge on why deaths are happening.
"For those that are unexplained or occurring in low risk pregnancies it is probably down to placenta cord development - but we need to understand this better and develop tools to spot babies in trouble.
"There are many researchers with ideas for different approaches, but there is a dearth of funding."
This is also echoed by Prof Shennan.
"Personally I think the amount of money going into preventions strategies for stillbirth, given the devastation is causes, is exceptionally low.
"Especially when compared to public health research in areas like cancer and cardiovascular disease, which for obvious reasons get a lot of support and are talked about."
At 14:59:33 in BusinessThe US economy grew at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of the year, according to revised figures from the US Department of Commerce.
At 14:58:36 in WalesChepstow is to be the third Monmouthshire town to have street lights switched off in residential areas at night.
At 14:56:53 in ScotlandA man who "inflicted dreadful injuries" on a teenager has been jailed for 10 years for attempted murder.
At 14:54:07 in EnglandOne of the victims of church deacon Alan Morris has recalled how the "vicious beatings" he suffered became sexual abuse from which he never recovered.
At 14:48:09 in SportHartlepool United boss Colin Cooper says striker Luke James remains part of his plans.
At 14:42:29 in EnglandA man who threw a glass bottle while drunk, shattering a car windscreen and badly injuring a nine-year-old girl, has been jailed for eight months.
At 14:33:00 in ScotlandA care home in Aberdeen has been told it must make improvements after being labelled weak for the second consecutive time.
At 14:29:09 in Northern IrelandThe winter of 2013/14 was the stormiest in 143 years across Ireland and Britain, according to climatologists.
At 14:27:38 in EnglandA seaside town is bracing itself for a gold-rush after a German artist buried £10,000 worth of bullion on a beach as part of an arts festival.
At 14:24:10 in BusinessRussia has said it will introduce a new scrappage scheme to try to boost flagging car sales.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Why stillbirth remains a mystery [Online] (Updated 7th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1444912/Why-stillbirth-remains-a-mystery [Accessed 28th Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are now married, according to a spokesman for the Hollywood couple.
A man who "inflicted dreadful injuries" on a teenager has been jailed for 10 years for attempted murder.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
A trial vaccine against Ebola could be given to healthy volunteers in the UK in September, according to an international health consortium.
The winter of 2013/14 was the stormiest in 143 years across Ireland and Britain, according to climatologists.
Chepstow is to be the third Monmouthshire town to have street lights switched off in residential areas at night.