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Pregnancy risk tool cuts baby loss in black and Asian women

A new pregnancy screening tool cuts the risk of baby loss among women from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to the same level as white women, research suggests.

The app calculates a woman's individual risk of pregnancy problems.

In a study of 20,000 pregnant women, baby death rates in ethnic groups were three times lower than normal when the tool was used.

Experts say the new approach can help reduce health inequalities.

The screening tool is already in use at St George's Hospital in London and is being tried out at three other maternity units in England, with hopes it could be rolled out to 20 centres within two years.

Researchers from Tommy's National Centre for Maternity Improvement, led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, developed the new tool.

Professor Basky Thilaganathan, who led the research team at St George's Hospital, said the new approach could "almost eliminate a large source of the healthcare inequality facing black, Asian and minority ethnic pregnant women".

"We can personalise care for you and reduce the chances of having a small baby, pre-eclampsia and losing your baby," he said.

The current system of a tick-box checklist to assess pregnancy risk has been around for 70 years, and is limited.

The new digital tool, which uses an algorithm to calculate a woman's personal risk, can detect high-risk women more accurately and prevent complications in pregnancy, the researchers say.

Both pregnant women and maternity staff can upload information on their pregnancy and how they are feeling to the app during antenatal appointments and at other times.

Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said it was "unacceptable" that black, Asian and minority ethnic women faced huge inequalities on maternity outcomes.

"The digital tool provides a practical way to support women with personalised care during pregnancy and make informed decisions about birth.

Read full story 

Read Tommy's press release

Source: BBC News, 28 February 2022


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