Safe Obstetric Systems: Fetal Pillow

Each year in the UK, more than 1,000 babies die or are left with severe brain injury because something has gone wrong during labour. Caesarean section during the second stage of labour carries a particularly high risk of complications for mother and baby, often because the foetal head is deeply engaged and therefore difficult to deliver via caesarean. The techniques traditionally used to help, including an assistant pushing the head up vaginally, can cause complications for both mother and baby.

The Fetal Pillow was designed by a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to specifically address this. The device is inserted vaginally before the incision is made in a mother’s abdomen, and then inflated. With the Fetal Pillow, the baby’s head is elevated by an average of 3-4 centimetres, meaning it becomes much easier to deliver the baby via the abdomen.

A randomised controlled trial of 240 patients showed the device led to a 71 per cent reduction in blood loss, a 62 per cent reduction in neonatal intensive care unit stays lasting longer than 24 hours, and a one day reduction in length of stay. 

To read this entry in full visit HSJ Solutions.

Click here for more details on the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2018.


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