Customised Growth Charts

All babies are made to measure as mums’ bodies are unique. For example, European mums have bigger babies than Asian mums, and taller mums have bigger babies than smaller mums. Because all babies are different it is important that we take this into account when monitoring babies’ growth during pregnancy.

Customised growth charts are generated using software which takes into account a mum’s ethnicity, weight, height and how many babies she has had to produce an individualised growth chart for midwives to use in the antenatal notes.

We have teamed up with The Perinatal Institute, a not-for-profit organisation enhancing the safety and quality of maternity care. They are a qualified provider of maternity support services, including education and training in:

The Perinatal Institute was set up in 2000 to research and take action on the fact that West Midlands stillbirths had been consistently above the national average for over 50 years. In 2002, they began the introduction of customised growth charts and training (GROW) in West Midlands maternity units to improve detection of growth restricted babies. In a decade, these techniques reduced stillbirth rates in the area by nearly 40 per cent. Customised growth charts are now used in over 70% of units across the UK. Software, training and audit tools are available to all hospitals in the UK through the Growth Assessment Protocol (GAP There are many training days planned so please make sure your hospital doesn’t miss out on their vital education.

Customised assessment of birthweight and fetal growth has been recommended by the RCOG since 2002 and their use has been re-emphasised in the recently published 2013 revision of the Green Top Guidelines.

In July 2013, The Perinatal Institute received the Award for Clinical Leadership at the prestigious Patient Safety Awards 2013. It was awarded in recognition of the Institute’s ground breaking work on ‘Reducing stillbirths through improved antenatal identification of pregnancies at risk due to fetal growth problems’ and then in 2015 received the BMJ Clinical Leadership Team of the Year with the judges commenting the GAP programme offered: “A fully delivered programme of national and international scope saving a significant number of lives and sorrow; achieved with quiet, relentless, determined leadership across a complex network of healthcare provision.”

The latest (2014) figures by ONS (Office of National Statistics) were released in July 2015 and show the stillbirth rate has reduced to the lowest rate since current records began (on 1992 the definition of a stillbirth was changed to a baby who dies prior to birth after 24 weeks of pregnancy). The figures suggest that national implementation of the Perinatal Institute’s programme could prevent over 1000 stillbirths in the United Kingdom each year.

As the Perinatal Institute’s charity partner, we are extremely excited to be working together on our Made to Measure campaign, calling all UK trusts to implement the GAP programme to help save 1000 babies lives each year.

A special thank you to The Perinatal Institute.