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Stillbirths doubled during Covid-19 first wave as women ‘put off’ seeking care

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) is investigating 40 stillbirths which took place between April and June this year

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Health investigators have launched a review into a potential increase in the number of stillbirths during the first wave of the pandemic.

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During the same period last year the patient safety investigation body investigated 24 stillbirths, HSJ reported.

Investigators told HSJ that a “thematic review” had been launched into stillbirths across England during this period.

Leading obstetricians raised concerns that there was a reduction of the number of pregnant women seeking emergency care during the early part of the pandemic.

They said that this suggests that women may have “put off” seeking care.

They also called for maternity staff not to be redeployed to other parts of the health service as the second wave of the pandemic takes hold.

(Image: University College London (UCL)/)

Sandy Lewis, associate director of maternity investigations at HSIB, told HSJ: “What we noticed during the initial Covid period was that we had seen approximately twice the number of intrapartum stillbirths compared to the same time last year.

“All those investigations are in progress and are being completed. We need to look at them in their entirety to understand…

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