Report reveals global stillbirth rates
More than 7,000 babies are delivered stillborn every day, new figures reveal.
Over 216 doctors were involved in the Lancet-published study, which saw the analysis of birth data from across the globe, finding that 2.6 million stillborn births occurred in 2015, which equates to around 7,200 each day.
Statistics show that between 2000 and 2015, the global stillbirth rate declined by two per cent from 24.7 in every 1,000 births to 18.4, but there is still some way to go to reach the 2030 target of 12 or fewer per 1,000 set out in the Every Newborn Action Plan.
The Netherlands has seen the biggest fall in stillbirths, with an annual decrease of 6.8 per cent over the past 15 years, which is being attributed to significant antenatal care improvements and an increased focus on women's health.
In contrast, although the stillbirth rate has declined in Nigeria since 2000, it remains at 42.9 in every 1,000 births. This means that unless significant improvements are made to maternal and newborn healthcare in the country, it will be 160 years until women in Sub-Saharan Africa have the same chance of giving birth to a healthy baby as their counterparts in higher-income countries.
However, in Rwanda, the annual stillbirth rate has fallen by 2.9 per cent since 2000, showing that changes can be successfully made in Africa.
Overall, Pakistan was found to have the higher number of stillborns per year, with a rate of 43.1 in every 1,000, while Iceland had the best rate, with just 1.3 per 1,000.
The main causes of stillbirth included maternal infections, with malaria accounting for eight per cent and syphilis for 7.7 per cent, while 14 per cent were attributed to prolonged pregnancies. Stillbirths are also more common in older mothers, with 6.7 per cent of those recorded occurring in women aged over 35.
In addition, 4.7 per cent of stillbirths were due to preeclampsia and eclampsia, with just 7.4 per cent attributed to congenital abnormalities.
What's more, the report found that between 60 and 70 per cent of mothers experience symptoms associated with clinical depression in the 12 months after delivering a stillborn baby, with these feelings lasting for up to four years in 50 per cent of women.