New stillbirth prevention i-learn module launches

Published on: 07/11/2017

MAMA Academy is thrilled to launch it’s first ever I-learn module for professionals. In collaboration with The Royal College of Midwives, the “Saving Babies Lives; Addressing Stillbirth” module is the first of it’s kind, focussing on stillbirth prevention.

Written by Melissa Coyne, a Midwifery Lecturer from Middlesex University, this module aims to explore stillbirth rates and risk factors at a local, national and international level. It will highlight work being undertaken both internationally and in the UK to reduce the stillbirth rate, as well as exploring examples of best practice. Midwives completing this module will be prepared to take their learning into their working lives, to improve stillbirth prevention and care wherever they practise.

Stillbirth, the birth of a dead baby after 24 completed weeks’ gestation, can be devastating for the mother, father, siblings and wider family involved. It has long-term implications for both parents’ psychological health and wellbeing – depression and grief can last for years after the birth, while stigma, social taboos and economic implications may complicate the grieving process.

Midwives, doctors and other care providers may also be deeply affected by a stillbirth, both professionally and personally. Many experience guilt, blame, anger, anxiety and sadness, along with a fear of litigation and disciplinary action (The Lancet, 2016).

The NMC Code describes the care midwives must provide; prioritising people, practising effectively, preserving safety and promoting professionalism and trust. It is midwives’ professional duty to ensure that the best evidence guides practise, and the evidence shows that there are many ways midwives can reduce the incidence of stillbirth.

In 2015, the Health Secretary put forward the ambition to reduce the rate of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths in England by 50% by 2030, with a 20% reduction by 2020.  This means that there is governmental policy engagement in the effort to reduce stillbirth. Over £4 million has been allocated to invest in equipment and staff training to improve outcomes (Department of Health, 2015).

Melissa Coyne, Author of the module said; “I would like to thank Heidi Eldridge of MAMA Academy, for inviting me to complete this work and for turning her personal tragedy into hope for thousands of future families. I would also like to give thanks to my employer, Middlesex University, for support and allocated study time. Recognition is due to the Perinatal Institute whose inspiring work in the GAP and GROW programmes fuelled my interest in this area, and to Brad Manktelow of MBRRACE for clarifying statistical details. Finally, I am deeply grateful to my mother, Donna Quinn, who provided much-needed childcare and meals while this module was in progress.”

Heidi Eldridge, CEO of MAMA Academy said: “We are extremely grateful to Melissa and the RCM for making our dream come to fruition and we can’t wait to see what impact this innovating module will have on future families, reducing more stillbirths in the UK.”

If you’re an RCM member, you can access the Saving Babies Lives module here. If not, please email for a free stillbirth prevention leaflet. We can also send you flyers to display on your staff notice board to aid consistency of knowledge.