Stillbirth Statistics

Sadly, the death of a baby isn’t rare. The UKs current stillbirth and neonatal death rate combined means that, every single day, 15 sets of parents will not take their precious newborn home.  A stillborn baby is one who has died before or during birth at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy. A neonatal death happens in the first 28 days after birth.

  • In 2015, the latest given statistics, around 9 babies were stillborn every day
  • In the same year, around 6 babies were lost to neonatal death every day.
  • Around a third of stillbirths happen after 37 weeks, when the baby is deemed full term.
  • The majority of women experiencing a stillbirth (55%) perceived a reduction in fetal movement prior to diagnosis (RCOG Green Top Guidelines).
  • Stillbirth is 10 times more common than cot death.
  • Stillbirths account for more than half of the death of infants under one year in the UK.
  • A study in Norway in 2005–7 found that the stillbirth rate was almost halved in women with reduced fatal movement when women reported a change in movements promptly and the pathway was followed.
  • There is a common misconception that stillbirths only happen in high risk pregnancies or when there is a known problem. However, stillbirth can affect any mum at any time.
  • Women who present on two or more occasions with RFM are at increased risk of a poor perinatal outcome (stillbirth, FGR or preterm birth) compared with those who attend on only one occasion (OR 1.92; 95% CI 1.21–3.02).
  • The UK ranks 33rd out of 35 high income countries, making it the 3rd highest stillbirth rate in the developed world.
  • The Lancet series ‘ending preventable stillbirths’ 2016 made the case that there would be more than a triple return on investment for reducing stillbirth. They quantified the economic and social benefits associated with reduction in stillbirth and compared it to the cost to achieve this reduction.
  • If all high income countries achieved stillbirth rates equal to the best performing countries 19439 late gestation (28 weeks +) stillbirths could have been avoided in 2015.