Help for grieving mums

Kirsty McGurrel of the 4Louis charity with the boxes which she donates to the parents of stillborn babies.
Kirsty McGurrel of the 4Louis charity with the boxes which she donates to the parents of stillborn babies.
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A GRIEVING mum whose first child was stillborn has called for action after figures revealed Britain’s shocking record.

Kirsty McGurrell, 22, was stunned to discover that 11 babies a day across Britain are stillborn, ranking it near the bottom of the league table for developed nations.

Kirsty, of Houghton, was devastated when her first child, Louis, was stillborn 12 days before he was due in December 2009.

Determined to highlight the issue and support for other parents who share her heartbreak Kirsty launched 4Louis, a charity that provides hospitals with keepsake boxes for families to take home.

“Before I went through it myself, I was totally unaware of how often it happened,” Kirsty said.

“After losing Louis, they told me the figures and I was shocked because they were so high.

“Since we started putting the boxes into hospitals, not a day goes by when we don’t get a response from someone who’s received one.

“This is a horrendous amount of people this is happening tom, but because it’s such a taboo subject you don’t usually hear anything about it.”

National statistics revealed that each year more than 4,000 babies are stillborn. This figure is 10 times the toll of cot deaths and more than the number of people killed on the roads.

The UK’s stillbirth rate of 3.5 per 1,000 births ranks it 32 places below the best performer, Finland, in the table of 193 countries that include some of the world’s poorest.

Among other high-income countries, only New Zealand, Austria and France have higher rates.

The UK’s record puts it on a par with Belarus and Estonia.

Kirsty said: “I think there can be more done. I think there needs to be more frequent scans during pregnancy.

“At the moment you get one at 12 weeks and then you have to wait until 20 weeks and that’s it.

“There also needs to be more support available for parents who have stillborns. They should have special rooms for parents.

“When I went through it I could hear the other newborns crying and there were posters on the wall about how to breastfeed. You just don’t need that.”

For more information on 4Louis, visit