Harrogate charity complains to BBC over misleading pregnancy advice

Chris Binnie, Trustee - Our Angels
Chris Binnie, Trustee - Our Angels

A Harrogate charity for bereaved parents has made an official complaint to the BBC over misleading content in a TV series about pregnancy.

‘Our Angels’ Charity and Support Group have written to the Director of Editorial Policy and Standards over two recent episodes of the BBC1 fictional drama ‘In the Club’.

After two midwife characters in the series suggested that a reduction in babies movements is normal in the later stages of pregnancy, concern was sparked amongst healthcare professionals nationwide, saying this was inaccurate.

Chris Binnie, Treasurer of Our Angels, said: “Whilst we appreciate that In The Club is a fictional drama, we are often influenced by what we watch, therefore the BBC has a responsibility to portray medical information as accurately as possible.

“Sadly, the UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world with 10 babies stillborn every day and we are often being told by bereaved parents that they wished they’d told their midwife about their baby’s reduction in movement.

“As a charity, we urge mothers to monitor their baby’s movements, report any change in their baby’s pattern without delay and if they reduce again after their check up, to report it no matter how many times it happens.

“We are afraid that mothers watching midwives explain that babies slowing down could be normal, will emphasise this myth and put babies lives at risk.”

The letter has been written in partnership with MAMA Academy and has been co-signed by a number of organisations including the National Childbirth Trust, The Royal College of Midwives, and a number of other still birth charities.

In March this year, Mr Binnie spoke at the launch of NHS England’s new initiative to reduce the number of stillbirths in the UK.

The initiative called ‘Saving Babies’ Lives’ identifies key focus areas for health professionals including raising awareness over the significance of a reduction in a baby’s movements.

But now Our Angels has said that the misleading information shown on national television is undermining the work the charity does to save babies’ lives.

However the BBC have responded to concerns, reminding that the series is fictional.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “In the Club is a fictional drama series, the fictional midwife offers comforting words to the distressed mother, while being mindful of using the word ‘sometimes’ and also refers the patient to seek the advice of the consultant whom she sees immediately.

“All the scripts are read by a senior midwife to ensure storylines are portrayed responsibly. The BBC will respond to the charity once their letter is received.”