which starts by saying:
The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has begun a national review in England following a rise in stillbirths between April and June, during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, when there were 40 stillbirths recorded after the start of labour, compared with 24 in the same period last year.
There is a certain skill in the search for answers as to why an event might have occurred without pointing fingers and causing the victim to feel blame. For example asking open ended questions like:
- How did it happen?
- Can you tell me about it?
- Help me to understand…I don’t know what this means?
- Can you tell me more?
- What can be done to help this situation?
- Can we figure out how to solve this? Etc
There is also a way to inquire about something happening that immediately causes the victims of the event to feel somehow responsible and blamed. Proposing you already know why something occurred ahead of what the investigation might reveal is one of these.
Unfortunately of the two ways its seems that the second is being employed in this instance.
While of course it is wonderful that they are investigating this spike at all it IS concerning that the victims of this spike in stillbirth are already being blamed through reported comments like:
Pregnancy and childbirth experts say this may have been due to a delay in women seeking care.
Dr Edward Morris, president of the RCOG, said antenatal care was “essential” and urged all women to attend appointments.
He went on to say
Dr Morris said “This may have been due to confusion around whether these appointments are essential, fear of attending a hospital or not wanting to burden the NHS.
“We have consistently advised women who have concerns or worries about their or their baby’s health – including the baby’s movements – should seek medical advice from their midwife or hospital immediately.”
As I have said before on this blog the spike in stillbirths that has occurred globally is multifactorial but IMHO is MUCH more to do with maternity services not being adequate, antenatal care taking place remotely or not at all and women not being informed by their care provider what to do if they are concerned in the context of the pandemic.
I refer back to comments made by Australian women to back this up :
Maternity care has been stripped back to if you’re alive and so is the baby, that'll do.
I haven't been allowed to have any face to face appts at the hospital, I can’t be thoroughly checked over the phone.
Worst care during this pregnancy
Hopefully this national UK review will identify ALL of the factors leading to an increase in the stillbirth to benefit not only UK but other high income countries and not simply lay the blame at the feet of the victims.