Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths
Sadly around 4,800 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every year in England and Wales, which amounts to over 13 every day and UK figures are only in recent years starting to decrease for the first time in 20 years.
A report published in The Lancet medical journal in 2015 concluded that a substantial proportion of stillbirths are potentially preventable as they occur so close to term. If babies at risk of being stillborn were identified, they could be delivered early, preventing a tragic outcome.
The latest statistics can be found here: Vital statistics in the UK: births, deaths and marriages from the Office for National Statistics.
- In 2018, there were 4,986 registered deaths of babies who died either before, during or shortly after birth in the UK. This means around 14 babies died every day.
- There were 2,371 stillbirths in England and Wales in 2020, compared with 2,522 in 2019.
- In England and Wales, the stillbirth rate in 2020 was 3.8 per 1,000 total births, down from 3.9 in 2019.
- In 2018, neonatal deaths in the UK stayed the same at 2.8 deaths per thousand live births. This is still up from the low of 2.7 per thousand recorded in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
- The infant mortality rate in 2018 remained the same at 3.9 deaths per thousand live births.
A large number of miscarriages go unreported as many can be dealt with at home so there is no clear number of how many occur every year but it is thought to be that 1 in 6 pregnancies end miscarriage and 1 in 90 pregnancies in the UK are ectopic. Up to 75% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. Sadly, it is also quite common for couples to go on to have more miscarriages as 1 in 100 couples experience recurrent miscarriage (3 or more in a row). However, women experiencing recurrent miscarriages, are still likely to go on to have a successful pregnancy in the future.
Over 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year in the UK. Approximately half of all multiple pregnancies are born prematurely. Around 8% of babies (1 in 13) are born before 37 weeks gestation, 6% occur between 22 and 27 weeks, and just under 1% occur before 22 weeks.
Mild pre-eclampsia affects up to 10% of first time pregnancies with severe pre-eclampsia affecting about 1-2 in 100 severe pregnancies. Every year in the UK about 1000 babies die because of pre-eclampsia – many of these as a consequence of premature delivery rather than the disease itself. Some 7 mothers die each year from complications of pre-eclampsia in the UK.
Group B Strep Infection
Around 700 babies per year will develop Group B Strep Infection. The majority of these will make a full recovery, however, around 75 per year will die from the infection. Of the survivors of GBS meningitis, up to one half suffer long-term mental and/or physical problems, from mild to severe learning disabilities, loss of sight, loss of hearing and lung damage (in around 12% of the survivors, the disabilities may be severe). The great majority of survivors of early-onset disease do so with no long-term damage.
Gestational Diabetes affects around 1 in 20 pregnancies and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Around 350 cases are reported in England and Wales each year, but it’s thought the actual number of infections could be as high as 350,000. Estimates suggest up to a third of people in the UK will be infected by toxoplasmosis at some point in their life, but most people won’t notice it.
Cot death occurs in 0.40 per 1000 which is approximately 300 a year. Down Syndrome affects 1 in every 1000 babies born which is approximately 700 per year.
National Maternity Statistics
For a summary of the latest maternity statistics by region, please visit BirthChoice UK.