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No change in UK stillbirth rates

No change in UK stillbirth rates

Stillbirth rates in the UK are still not declining, with obesity, social deprivation and a mother's age possibly contributing to the lack of progress, a report has said.

Since 1998, the number of stillbirths in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has hardly changed.

In 2006, the stillbirth rate was 5.3 per 1,000 births, according to Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) report. In 2000, the figure was 5.4 per 1,000 births and in 1997 it was 5.3.

The report, from eight Royal Colleges including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, did note some improvements in the number of babies dying in the first month after birth in England and Wales.

Since 2000, this rate has declined "significantly", from 3.9 per 1,000 in 2000 to 3.4 in 2006.

And the number of babies dying in the neonatal period from twin pregnancies has also fallen, from 22.3 per 1,000 in 2000 to 19.3 per 1,000 in 2006.

Mothers under 20 and over 40 had the highest rates of stillbirth in 2006, at 5.6 per 1,000 and 8.1 respectively.

These age groups also had the highest rates of death in the perinatal period  and the neonatal period.

Of the women who had a stillbirth and where their body mass index (BMI) was recorded, 26% were obese with a BMI over 30, while 22% of those whose child died in the neonatal period were also obese.

Mothers living in the most deprived areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, had stillbirth and neonatal death rates that were 1.7 times higher than those in the least deprived area.

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Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health

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