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Number of stillbirths still 'too high'

4th March 2009

A new report has shown that the number of stillbirths and deaths shortly after birth remains high in the UK.

pregnancy

Figures show that every year in the UK nearly 4,000 babies are stillborn and another 2,500 die within four weeks – an average of 17 babies a day.

The stillbirth and neonatal death charity SANDS says more research and better funding for neonatal care could help reduce the figure. It also pointed to a shortage of neonatal nurses.

That was echoed by the Confidential Enquiry into Stillbirths and Deaths in Infancy which concluded that nearly half of all unexplained stillbirths might have been avoided with better antenatal care.

SANDS also found that women are not well informed of the risk of stillbirth.

Chief Executive Neal Long said: "For too long these deaths have been ignored and yet here is compelling evidence to suggest that many babies' lives could be saved with better antenatal care, increased funding for maternity services, more midwives and increased funding for research.

"We want to see action now to save babies' lives."

The charity questioned 270 bereaved parents and found that 48% did not feel everything possible was done to save their baby's life.

Louise Silverton of the Royal College of Midwives said: "We know from our members that in some places antenatal appointments are getting shorter, and that midwives are frustrated because too often they are not getting the time with women that they need."

The Department of Health said it was committed to improving outcomes for both mother and baby.

 

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