A South London woman who suffered a tragic still birth after experiencing reduced fetal movements is setting up a charity which she hopes can save up to a 1000 babies a year by offering women vital ultrasounds.
Lianne Alizadeh, a 30-year-old medical student from Merton, is setting up a charity to offer pregnant women ultrasounds when their hospitals won’t. “When pregnant women who are experiencing reduced fetal movements have been deemed safe to go home but they still feel there is something wrong, just as I did, we will try to arrange private ultrasounds close to their home to check on the baby”, Alizadeh explained.
Pregnant women are usually offered two ultrasound scans, the first between 11-14 weeks and then a second between 18-21 weeks however, Alizadeh wants ultrasounds to be used more frequently.
“When it comes to reduced fetal movements, each hospital can decide on their own ultrasound protocol, this opens up a postcode lottery for babies lives. I want to end this postcode lottery for unborn babies and stop as many preventable baby deaths as possible”, Alizadeh said.
The charity, Aaliyah’s Angel Army, is based in Merton but when its fully set up Alizadeh hopes they can help women all over the UK through an online and phone call service. “From my research there are over 1000 preventable baby deaths each year in England so my aim is to be able to help reduce that number as much as possible”, Alizadeh said.
This research refers to a 2021 report by MPs which concluded 1000 babies die preventable deaths every year in England because of “a culture of shifting blame and keeping tight-lipped means lessons are not learned after mistakes happen on NHS maternity wards.”
Alizadeh hopes to build contracts with several private ultrasound specialists cross the UK to reduce costs and accept patient referral letters. “I hope that using ultrasounds more widely will not only improve outcomes and reduce preventable baby deaths but save NHS resources and lead the way for maternity improvements globally”, Alizadeh said.
Alizadeh experienced reduced fetal movements at 24 weeks and visited a South London labour triage three times. She was placed on a doppler scan and a CGT machine but was not given an ultrasound. “I could never understand why in a country with all these medical advancements, we are we not using the knowledge and equipment we are so lucky to have readily available”, she said.
“The doppler picked up my baby’s tachycardia and the CTG machine can monitor heart rates but neither can show the clinician what is causing the tachycardia. An ultrasound can not only show the complication but, at times, what is causing it” Alizadeh explained.
At 26 weeks she was told her baby’s heart had stopped. “The pain is indescribable, when the doctors says those dreaded words, ‘I’m sorry but as you can see your baby’s heart has stopped beating’”, Alizadeh said.
Two days later, on 10th July 2021, she gave birth to her still born daughter, Aaliyah, whom she has named her charity after.
“Starting Aaliyah’s Angel Army is the only thing that has got me through. Fighting for change and ensuring that Aaliyah’s tragedy will pathe the way to save more babies lives is my main aim. She was too beautiful for earth but was sent to save thousands of babies and give me the strength to do so”, Alizadeh said.
Alizadeh’s campaign started with a petition to ask the government to review the NHS treatment for women experiencing reduced fetal movement, the petition closed on the 5th February 2022 with 10,418 signatures.
Alizadeh said the petition was “successful in making noise” and shows that women across the UK need a charity such as Aaliyah’s Angel Army.
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