Number of stillborn deaths falls

New figures published in November show that the number of babies stillborn, or who die within four weeks of birth, was down in 2018 from 2017.

Improving rates

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published figures showing some positive news. The number of babies who are still born or die within four weeks of birth have fallen to an average of 14 a day.

This means that 345 fewer babies died in 2018 than 2017. While due partly to less babies being born, there was a real fall in stillbirths. Although this gives some reason for optimism, 2,958 babies were stillborn in 2018, or one in 250. Sadly, 2,028 babies also died within four weeks of birth in 2018. This is one in every 360 newborns.

No room for complacency

Clea Harmer, Chief Executive at Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said: “Today’s ONS figures reveal a welcome fall in the UK’s stillbirth rate, following concerted efforts by Sands and other organisations to drive Government and NHS initiatives that save babies’ lives.

We need to see a much faster reduction in the future

“However, there is no room for complacency. The fact remains that 14 babies a day in the UK are stillborn or die within four weeks of birth. And although stillbirth rates have begun to fall, the rate of newborn deaths has stagnated since 2012.

“Overall, if the next Government is to reach the goal of halving baby deaths in England by 2025, we need to see a much faster and greater reduction in future.”

Further information

Our articles on losing a baby offer emotional and practical support on coping with bereavement.

Sands aims to ensure that anyone affected by the death of a baby receives the best possible care. Contact them here.