ONS Release 2020 Stillbirth Figures

Published on: 18/02/2022

The Office for National Statistics has released its latest figures looking at the stillbirth rate in 2020. The government’s target, set in 2015, was to reduce stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries that occur during birth by 50% by 2025 (brought forward from 2030), with an interim target of a 20% reduction by 2020.

These are challenging targets to encourage maternity services to prioritise this issue. From a rate of 5.1 stillborn babies per 1000 live births in 2010, the 2020 figure has dropped to 3.8 babies per 1000 live births in 2020.

This is a reduction of 25%, exceeding the interim target of a 20% reduction. This equates to more than 750 more babies a year surviving compared to 2010.

The neonatal death rate, reduced by 29% by 2019, is also currently exceeding the 2020 target.

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England, said “I thank and applaud midwifery students, trainees, maternity support workers, support staff, Maternity Voices Partnerships, midwives, obstetricians, neonatologists, anaesthetists, baby charities, policy colleagues and business and general managers for all that you have done to reduce the stillbirth rate.”

Here at MAMA Academy, we know only too well that every single baby that is stillborn or dies after birth is a tragedy, and we remain fully committed to working with NHS Trusts up and down the UK to continue to drive this stillbirth rate down year-on-year and to help more babies arrive safely, employing a range of established and innovative resources to support both staff and expectant parents. But it is important to acknowledge and celebrate success when it is achieved, and these figures are testament to incredible efforts being made all across maternity services. 750 more families a year not faced with a lifetime of heartbreak is very welcome news, and whilst there is clearly still much more to do to achieve the 2025 targets, we should recognise these efforts by maternity staff under incredible pressure.

If you’re a maternity professional and you’d like to find out more about how MAMA Academy can support your trust’s work on maternity safety, please get in touch at contact@mamaacademy.org.uk.