#stillBORN Campaign - Clara's story of Preeclampsia

Published on: 22/01/2016

In March 2014, at 37+1, I went into labour with our first daughter Clara. My waters didn’t break but we waited until my contractions were 2 minutes apart before setting off to the hospital. On arrival basic checks were carried out and we were advised to go home as labour with your first baby can take up to 24 hours. My daughter’s heartbeat was listened to once.

We were concerned and recorded the increasing frequency and length of each contraction ourselves. We did not feel we were listened to. We said that we didn’t want to be sent home but the midwife was determined she knew best and it took us 25 minutes to struggle back to the car. Within an hour we were back at the hospital and our daughter was born within minutes.

There was no sound from Clara after she was born and emergency procedures were then followed. We were told after 30 minutes that resuscitation was unsuccessful and that Clara had been stillborn.

We were advised later by hospital staff that Clara’s death was “just one of those things”. At this point we were not aware that the hospital had issued a Safety Alert after Clara’s death to encourage CTG monitoring for all mothers presenting in labour until an investigation had been carried out.

External investigations revealed that I had been incorrectly classed as ‘low risk’ and placed under ‘midwifery-led care’ from the beginning; this inaccurate risk assessment remained throughout my pregnancy and assessment whilst in labour.

Clara was recorded as growth restricted and the placenta histology came back as pre-eclampsia being the cause for growth restriction. We had a family history of pre-eclampsia which was never noted and protein markers were just explained away by medical staff.

Some of the other failures identified were:

-Family history of sister having pre-eclampsia that had not been taken into account
-Lack of continuity of care; we only saw the same midwife once
-Incorrect gestational calculations
-Inability of community midwives to access IT systems
-Failure to follow-up on hospital tests when a midwife suspected pre-eclampsia at 34 weeks
-Inappropriate discharge when presenting in labour
-Delay of 25 days in counselling being offered
-Delay introducing GROW charts


As a family we are devastated that there were many missed opportunities at various points in my pregnancy and labour that could have saved Clara’s life. I will never get to see my daughter grow and flourish in life, but I am determined her short existence will count towards positive changes by way of highlighting the importance of coroner’s inquests and works done by charities such as MAMA Academy.

Please sign a petition “Clara’s Law” calling all stillbirths to be independently investigated and a coronor’s inquest carried out in cases where a baby has died during delivery but signs of life were present.