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Between 500 and 800 babies die or are left with severe brain injury in the UK each year because something goes wrong during labour.


Jun 2017

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are behind the Each Baby Counts inquiry which looked into over 700 recent neonatal deaths and injuries. The inquest found that three in every four of the babies may have had a different outcome had they received different medical care.

The report looked at 1,136 stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occurred on UK maternity units during 2015:

  • 126 babies were stillborn
  • 156 died within the first seven days after birth
  • 854 babies had severe brain injury (It is not known how many might have significant long-term disability)

Out of the 1,136 cases, only 727 could be reviewed in depth. The findings show that there were problems with assessment of foetal wellbeing during labour, including interpreting baby heart-rate patterns, which were cited as significant factors.

Based on this investigation, The Each Baby Counts recommends:

  • All low-risk women are assessed on admission in labour to see what foetal monitoring is required
  • Staff receive annual training on interpreting baby heart-rate traces (CTGs)
  • A senior member of staff must oversee the activity on the delivery suite

Although the UK remains one of the safest places to give birth, serious incidents do occur, some of which could be prevented if different care were given.

If you have suffered due to medical negligence during or after giving birth, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0191 5666 500 or complete our short enquiry form and one of our supportive team members will be in touch.

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