Abstract Most stillbirths used to be categorized as ‘unexplained’ and were considered, by implication, unavoidable. Recent evidence indicates that they represent a combined challenge for public health and for clinical services. Independent case reviews have found that many deaths are associated with a failure to recognize risk factors and to afford them the appropriate standard of care. The majority of normally formed fetal deaths had preceding, unrecognized intrauterine growth failure. Improved training and adoption of standardized protocols has led to increased antenatal detection of fetal growth restriction, and this in turn has resulted in significant reductions in stillbirths in areas with high uptake of the training programme. A comprehensive, evidence-based growth assessment protocol (GAP) is currently being rolled out across the NHS to implement this strategy for stillbirth prevention.