Stars join in appeal over maternity care

Bereaved parents have urged Downing Street and health bosses to improve maternity care and help to stop thousands of babies dying every year.

A petition with more than 1,200 signatures including those of singer Annie Lennox and Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh calls for better checks for mothers-to-be.

Colette Murphy, one of the women behind the petition said more scans were needed as well as extra blood tests and checks for group B streptococcus, an infection that can blind and kill babies.

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Mrs Murphy, a mother of three, lost her son in 1999 in the 37th week of her pregnancy.

Currently, women only have two scans – at weeks 12 and 20 – unless they are classed as high risk and tests for Strep B are not done unless there are signs of it.

Mrs Murphy and co-organiser Jo Hart decided to take a stand as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence prepares to review its guidelines on antenatal and maternity care.