Why Hollyoaks had to change their stillbirth storyline

Stillbirth charity persuaded scriptwriters to change Mercedes McQueen's lines

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Hollyoaks scriptwriters have changed their upcoming stillbirth storyline after checking it with charity Count The Kicks.

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An episode set to air next week will see Mercedes McQueen, played by Jennifer Metcalfe, lose her baby after noticing reduced movements.

But the CEO of Count The Kicks says scriptwriters worked with the stillbirth charity to alter their storyline to make it clear that stillbirth is not always inevitable.

“Our advice was that it’s really important to highlight the fact Mercedes noticed reduced movement before, rather than just noticing the baby stopped moving entirely,” Elizabeth Hutton told the HuffPost. “Something can be done if you notice reduced movement and do something about it early enough.”

Experts from the charity worked with writers early on to make sure the storyline was accurate.

Scriptwriters had planned for Mercedes to only mention that she’d noticed reduced movements once the baby had stopped moving entirely.

But thanks to the charity’s input, viewers will now see Mercedes mention her baby’s reduced movements before telling her brother John Paul that she hasn’t felt her baby kick in almost 24 hours.

Sadly in Mercedes case, her baby dies but Elizabeth wanted to make it clear that pregnant mums should always report reduced movements to their midwife as soon as they notice it – as there may be more time to find out if a baby is in distress and intervene.

“We wanted to highlight that if she contacted the hospital straight away, there is a chance stillbirth would not be inevitable,” Elizabeth said. “There is something you can do, it is preventable, and we really wanted the Hollyoaks’ scriptwriters to get that into their storyline.”

Count The Kicks will now run a campaign for Baby Movement Awareness Week on 2 to 9 November next week to run alongside the Hollyoaks storyline.

The stillbirth storyline follows a similar EastEnders plot where Shabnam Masood, played by Rakhee Thakrar, lost her baby.

Here at MFM, we think it’s great that these storylines are included in soaps so that we can talk more openly about stillbirth – and get the correct information out there.

Photo: Getty

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