Stillbirth rate in UK falls between 2013 and 2015

The stillbirth rate in the UK fell by almost eight per cent between 2013 and 2015, according to new research.

The MBRRACE-UK report found that in 2015 the stillbirth rate was 3.87 per 1,000 total births. This had fallen from 4.20 per 1,000 total births in 2013.

However, the report also found that even though there was a reduction, the UK’s stillbirth rates remain high compared to many similar European countries. The researchers said there is still significant variation across the UK that is not entirely explained by some of the important factors that influence the rate of stillbirth. These include poverty, the mother's age, multiple birth and ethnicity.

The study focused on babies born at full term. Professor Elizabeth Draper, professor of perinatal and paediatric epidemiology at the University of Leicester, UK, said: “Whilst the overall findings are good news, as two thirds of all stillbirths are born preterm, we need to identify the extent to which preterm stillbirths are avoidable to enable the development of practices and policies to prevent these stillbirths and to reduce any variation in the quality of care across the UK.”

Over the same period, it was found that the neonatal death rate has remained largely stable, with a fall between 2013 and 2015 from 1.84 to 1.74 deaths per 1,000 live births. The researchers said that this reflects the fact that more work is required to prevent these deaths in the future.

According to the report, data for the Neonatal Networks shows that neonatal mortality rates vary between 1.15 and 3.21 deaths per 1,000 live births. It was reported that much of this variation is accounted for by differences in the proportion of babies dying from a major congenital anomaly.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801837132-ADNFCR