In 2015 in the UK, 1,360 babies who were born after 24 weeks’ gestation died in their first 28 days of life.

Overall, neonatal mortality rates are declining. This means that generally fewer babies per 1000 births are dying each year.

Why do babies in the UK die soon after birth?

In 2014, 31 percent of babies who died in their first 28 days of life died due to complications after birth; this was the largest cause of death. 28 per cent of babies died due to congenital anomalies, and 18 per cent of deaths were due to babies being born extremely early.

There are several factors which can also further increase the risk of neonatal mortality:

  • Smoking during pregnancy can lead to many complications for the baby. The baby is at higher risk of being born prematurely, of being born with a low birth weight, and also at higher risk of death. In 2015 around 20 per cent of mothers of babies who were stillborn or who died in the neonatal period smoked throughout their pregnancy. 
  • Obesity during pregnancy has also been associated with increased neonatal death rates