The Outcome for the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle Evaluation

Published on: 30/07/2018

The Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle was published by the NHS in 2016 in an ambition to halve the UK’s rate of stillbirths by 2025.

The care bundle is based on research over the previous years that recognised four key elements in reducing the risk of stillbirth. These are:

> Reducing smoking in pregnancy.
> Risk assessment and surveillance in growth restriction.
> Raising awareness of reduced movements.
> Effective monitoring during labour.

The saving babies’ lives project impact and results evaluation (SPiRE) are now in and we’ve broken down the findings below.

There were 19 participating Trusts in total.

The overall result is that stillbirths were reduced by 20% with singleton stillbirths reducing by 22%. This means the lives of around 160 babies have been saved with the amazing efforts of maternity staff in the participating sites. 

By all accounts it’s difficult to attribute this reduction solely with the care bundle as there are many factors to consider. For example, the overall number of mothers smoking at the time of booking decreased, rather than the contributing factor of them joining a smoking cessation program. This indicates an area that can still be substantially improved upon going forward.

In participating Trusts, 58% of staff were aware of the implementation of the bundle with frontline staff being the least aware. The full report informs that staff were still implementing all or part of the bundle as part of their daily practice. 

Detection of growth restriction antenatally increased by a whopping 59% This can be attributed to better surveillance through growth charts and ultrasound scanning.

Awareness of reduced movements was good with a high number of expectant mums attending due to perceived reduced movement.
MAMA Academy Wellbeing Wallets are being used by some of the Trusts alongside the care bundle. The wallets raise awareness not only of reduced movements, but other important symptoms that expectant mums should get checked out straight away instead of waiting, so we believe that this also has an important impact on reducing stillbirths.

The report indicates that compliance for CTG training was modest and competency assessment was poor.
With regards to this, it’s important to acknowledge that already stretched staff may struggle to add any extra tasks to their roles and that thought needs to be given as to how this can be achieved in individual Trusts going forward.

So overall a very positive report, but also highlighting areas that can be improved further. Recognition that the results varied significantly by area is important. Different Trusts may have different levels of support / resources available for implementing the care bundle in full. For example, we know that Taunton and Somerset were able to implement all of the elements with full support of their Clinical Director (as a pilot before the report was published to begin with) and were able to reduce their stillbirth rates by 50% over a three year period. Find out more here:

It is estimated that the costs of implementing the care bundle over the whole of England would be around 131 million with the main costs being ultrasound scans and inductions of labour.

According to the Sunday Times, Matt Hancock, the new health secretary said “There is nothing more devastating than losing a child so this improvement is welcome and testament to the incredible NHS maternity staff who do everything they can to improve care; saving many babies lives as a result.
We still have more to do but these results demonstrate really positive progress towards our ambition to halve the rates of stillbirth, neonatal death and maternal death”.

MAMA Academy is on a mission to get our Wellbeing Wallets into every hospital in the UK, empowering pregnant mums to call their maternity unit straight away instead of waiting if certain important symptoms are present. We are proud to be part of saving future little lives and want to put a stop to preventable stillbirths.

You can find the full SPiRE report here.