Foetal growth link to stillbirths missed

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HUNDREDS of babies are stillborn each year because doctors and midwives fail to spot danger signs, according to new research.

Detecting foetal growth problems early must become “a cornerstone of safety and effectiveness in antenatal care”, scientists warned.

Britain has one of the worst rates of stillbirth of any developed country. A two-year study of more than 90,000 births found the strongest indicator was restricted growth in the womb, which raised the risk of a stillbirth four times compared with normal pregnancies. This increased eightfold if not discovered during pregnancy, accounting for 32 per cent of all stillbirths.

The authors of the report, published in the British Medical Journal, said foetal growth restriction was currently missed in most pregnancies.