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Top 10 rating for maternity staff detecting babies ‘at risk’ of stillbirth

Ormskirk hospital’s maternity unit has been nationally recognised for detecting a condition which can lead to babies being stillborn.

Last week the Wigan Road maternity unit had confirmation it was ranked in the top 10 in the country for detecting unborn babies who are Small for Gestational Age (SGA).

SGA can stop the baby growing during pregnancy and can cause an increased risk of stillbirth and can affect up to 10% of mothers-to-be.

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Week old Ava-Marie

Skelmersdale mother-of-two Louise Flavell and her baby Ava-Marie benefited from early detection of SGA. This meant the baby girl - weighing 1.39kg/5lbs 1oz - is now hoping to be home in time for Christmas.

Ava-Marie arrived safely in week 34 of pregnancy on Saturday, 18 November thanks to the expertise of doctors and nurses at Ormskirk maternity unit. The team achieved their rating by implementing the “Growth Assessment Protocol” designed by the Perinatal Institute.

The aim is to reduce the number of stillbirths associated with growth restriction during pregnancy and involves producing a growth chart for each patient. It is tailored specifically to their height, weight and ethnicity.

The growth of the baby is then closely monitored so any concerns can be immediately acted upon. A training programme for the midwives and doctors was undertaken to ensure detection rates are as high as possible.

The Department of Health announced in its new maternity strategy last month that it aimed to reduce the number of stillbirths by half by 2025. This is in line with the Saving Babies’ Lives care bundle launched by NHS England last year.

This looks at reducing smoking during pregnancy, improved detection of small babies raised awareness of reduced fetal movements and improves monitoring of babies’ heart rates during labour.

Doctor Alice Bird, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, said:

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Doctor Alice Bird

Congratulations to the whole maternity team on having an average SGA detection rate of 60.3% in 2017. This is far higher than the national average of 41.1%. These figures are excellent and put our trust in the top 10 in the country - excellent news for our patients like Louise - well done to the whole tea

“It’s also positive we are already addressing issues highlighted in the national maternity strategy and preventing the number of stillbirths at Ormskirk hospital. This is reassuring for mothers to be across Lancashire and Merseyside.”