30 November 2018

Adherence to guidelines could save 63 babies a year Jane Gorringe, maternity engagement project manager at Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba)

Jane Gorringe, Maternity Engagement Project Manager at Tamba discusses how babies’ lives can be saved if maternity units adhere to NICE guidance on multiple pregnancies.



Since April 2016 we’ve been running a Government funded programme which has so far revealed that 63 baby deaths could be prevented each year if all maternity units in England follow NICE Clinical Guidance 129.

The guidelines provide a number of recommendations such as ensuring that appropriate antenatal nutritional advice is given and core teams of specialist obstetricians are made available.

A Tamba survey found that only 18% of maternity units have specialist midwives and 30% of mothers are not being cared for by an obstetrician. If mums of multiples can get the specialist multidisciplinary care they deserve, as recommended by NICE, then the number of multiple births needing neonatal care will decrease.

In the summer of 2018 we produced an interim report called ‘Nice Works’ which shows that if all maternity units in England performed the same as the best performing units in the group that Tamba worked with, then many lives could be saved.

Nice Works also showed that reducing the number of babies from a multiple pregnancy needing neonatal care could save the NHS in England more than £4 million per year.

Sadly, according to the latest data, multiples are still over one and a half times more likely to end in a stillbirth and over three times more likely to end with a neonatal death.  This is partly due to multiple births having lower birth weights than single babies. Multiple pregnancies are associated with child disability and studies suggest that they are still six times more likely to result in a brain injury.

These figures clearly show the benefits of adopting national clinical guidance of care for families of multiples and supports the national ambition set out by the Government to reduce still births, neonatal deaths and patient safety incidences in maternity services.

A more detailed final report updating how these units have performed and the potential improvement will be published in March 2019.

A conference will also be held at RCOG, London on Saturday April 6th. To register your interest please email MaternityEngagement@tamba.org.uk

Tamba is campaigning for the programme to continue beyond April 2019 so it can reach the remaining 124 obstetric units in England and deliver on its expectations.

Tags: maternity, neonatal care, antenatal nutritional advice, multiple pregnancies

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