We are pleased to be part-funding the study, Does promoting increased awareness of decreased fetal movements reduce stillbirth?, a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial, led by Professor Jane Norman of the Medical Research Council’s Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health, Edinburgh.  The AFFIRM study aims to discover whether promoting increased awareness of decreased fetal movements reduces stillbirths.

The study will test the theory that rates of stillbirth will be reduced by the introduction of a package of care consisting of strategies to increase pregnant women’s awareness of the need for prompt reporting of decreased fetal movements, followed by a management plan to identify placental insufficiency and leading to timely delivery of the baby in confirmed cases.

The odds of a stillbirth occurring fell by 30% after the introduction of a similar package of care in Norway but the effectiveness of this intervention (and possible adverse effects and implications for service delivery) have not previously been tested in a randomised trial.

Professor Norman says: “I am very grateful to Sands for its generous support of the AFFIRM study. The trial team and I are very excited about the possibility of showing that a relatively straightforward intervention could have a significant impact on rates of stillbirth.”

The study will take the form of a stepped wedge cluster design trial in which hospitals in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and possibly parts of England will be randomised to the timing of introduction of the care package. It will start this June and run for 4 years. 

The study will cost £350,000 and is mainly being funded by the Scottish Government. We are contributing £55,000. The charity Tommy’s is also contributing funds to the trialSignificant amounts of money for large-scale research projects are needed if we are to understand how to prevent stillbirths and early neonatal deaths, and we will continue to campaign and lobby the government on this issue.

To make a donation towards research please click here.