Introduce Doppler Scans For All Pregnant Women - Proven To Reduce Stillborn Rate By 50%
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First of all - I am not a doctor, or a midwife, or a specialist in maternal health. I don't have all the answers and I don't know the best way to go about this, but I want others to benefit from our hardships and what we've learnt along the way...
Here's The Facts...
At the moment, more than 3,000 pregnancies in the UK result in unexplained losses, miscarriages, placenta abruptions and stillborns every year. This is one of the worst rates in the developed world. It devastates families, sends parents home from hospital with empty arms and loses thousands of lives.
Unless you are deemed high risk, a pregnant woman is not given a Doppler scan to check the blood flow through the uterus, placenta and baby. This is only given if you've had tragedies before, or if your baby is already suffering in the pregnancy and showing slow growth as a result of undiagnosed problems.
It is a very simple test. The equipment is available at both the 12 and 20 week scan, it takes just 5 extra minutes and can be incorporated easily into the standard scans. But it doesn't happen.
If all women were given this simple test, the stillborn rate would decrease by 50-60%. According to the results of Kings Cross Hospital in London, who check blood flow on all pregnancies, the results are substantial. And yet, the vast majority of pregnant women don't get that treatment, don't even get told about it and have at least a 50% higher chance of experiencing a late term loss.
Seeing your baby's heart beat, feeling it kick and move inside you, planning the future - and then being told the news that there is no heartbeat anymore... that your baby has died... Your baby never recovers, and neither do you.
50% less parents would have to go through this, if pregnant women were entitled to this scan straight away. 1 in 2 families of stillborn babies would have them in their arms when they go home, and would not have to bury their children. 50%.
We know what losing a baby feels like first hand, after we suffered a placenta abruption at 23 weeks gestation with our baby daughter in May 2015. Her name was Isabella; she was tiny, and perfect, and she didn't cry when she was born. She won't have her first birthday, or her first Christmas, or her first day at school. She won't graduate, she won't walk down the aisle, she won't have children of her own.
We were told the abruption was a fluke and that there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent it. We accepted this at the time, but now we know that may not be true.
It's only now during our second pregnancy, because we are considered 'high risk', that I have received Doppler scans to check the blood flow of the placenta and baby. This is not standard procedure, so we never had this when pregnant with Isabella. It identified problems with the blood flow to the placenta, something that can cause growth restrictions and abruptions, and I've been put on blood thinning measures and increased monitoring to help us get as far along as possible and increase this baby's chance of survival. When asked if this could have been what caused us to lose Bella, we were told it was very possible - but until now, it had never been mentioned. If this pregnancy had been different, which many are second time around, it would forever have remained unexplained.
Isabella isn't here to tell her story, or campaign to introduce that simple scan that would have had a 50% chance of saving her - and all the other babies and families that are affected and have to deal with this tragedy. But we are and we want to use our knowledge, that we've learnt the hard way, to make a change and save lives.
Please do sign this petition; even if you are not pregnant, even if you never plan to have children, or have healthy babies already. Please support us in trying to reduce the number of people who have to go through this heartbreak.
Success Stories & Professional Support
If you would like to read up on this a little more, here's some research we have managed to uncover:
Half of UK stillbirths could be prevented with scans - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29367001
Two thirds of stillbirths could be prevented with simple test - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11127885/Two-thirds-of-stillbirths-could-be-prevented-with-simple-test-doctors.html
£15 Doppler scans could save 1,900 babies’ lives a year, says leading obstetrician - http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/15-doppler-scans-could-save-1900-babies-lives-a-year-says-leading-obstetrician-9763364.html
Can stillbirths be prevented? - http://www.osbornes.net/can-stillbirths-prevented/
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