MiNess 20-28

Mothers Working to Prevent Early Stillbirth Study 20-28

  • Hospital – Speciality: Saint Mary’s Hospital – Reproductive health and childbirth
  • Study Type: Observational – Case control study
  • Funder: National Institute for Health and Care Research


The United Kingdom has one of the highest rates of stillbirth in Europe. A 15 percent reduction in stillbirths has been achieved by identifying and providing appropriate care to individuals at highest risk of stillbirth after 28 weeks’ gestation. However, around 1,600 babies are stillborn each year between 20-28 weeks of pregnancy. This number has not changed in recent years, partly because of lack of understanding of which babies are most at risk and what can be done to prevent their death. This urgently needs addressing.

The researchers previously conducted the Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study (MiNESS) investigating modifiable factors associated with stillbirth and found that mothers who went to sleep on their back, or who consumed more than recommended amounts of caffeine had a two-fold increased risk of late stillbirth (≥28 weeks gestation) compared to mothers who did not. Whether these are also related to early stillbirth is unknown.

This proposed study aims to use the same methodology to confirm or refute these findings (and identify novel factors)

in relation to early (20-28 weeks) stillbirth and ascertain whether a preventative programme should be introduced. This data will determine whether an intervention study should be considered.

Participant Group

Cases: recently pregnant people who have experienced baby loss during pregnancy, labour or immediately after birth between 20-28 weeks of pregnancy

Controls: individuals still pregnant/recently delivered at same gestational age

Participant Approach

Cases: Bereaved individuals (“cases”) will be approached prior to discharge from the maternity unit. A brief description of the study will be provided by their midwife, bereavement midwife or doctor known to them, and consent to be contacted by a research midwife obtained.

Controls: Pregnant women/people (“controls”) will be randomly selected from participating maternity units’ booking list. Women will be approached at an appropriately timed routine antenatal appointment to participate in the necessary week of pregnancy (matching the unit’s historic early stillbirth gestation distribution).

Study open date and expected length

Opened: 1 September 2023

Expected end date: Two years from opening


Pending – study is still active

Contact details

Telephone: 0161 701 3479

Email address: MiNess.20-28@mft.nhs.uk

  • IRAS Number: 314658