Here you will find information about Sands, stillbirth and neonatal death including key facts, spokespeople and case study information
We hope that you find everything you need but if not, please contact our press office for more information or to request a Sands media pack.
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Key facts and statistics: stillbirth and neonatal deaths
- 15 babies a day are stillborn or die within 4 weeks of birth in the UK.1
- In 2015, one in every 227 babies delivered in the UK was stillborn (that is, the baby died during pregnancy or birth any time from 24 weeks of pregnancy onwards).2
- After decades of stagnation, the UK’s stillbirth rate is starting to fall. However it remains higher than other comparable countries and much more can and should be done.
- In 2015, one in every 370 babies born in the UK died in the first 4 weeks of life.2
- Contrary to common perception, major congenital anomalies (birth defects) account for fewer than 10% of stillbirths.3
- There are well-documented risk factors for stillbirth, such as smoking and obesity.4 But babies at highest risk are those with poor growth that’s not picked up during pregnancy5. These pregnancies are thought to be ‘low risk’ when actually the baby is at risk.
- In around one in three stillbirths the exact reason for the baby’s death is unclear and the death is described as ‘unexplained’.3 This is because we don’t fully understand the causes of stillbirth. More research is needed.
- One-third of stillborn babies – that’s around 1,200 babies every year – die after a full-term pregnancy (37 or more weeks).3
- Every year, 500 babies die from an intrapartum-related event (that is, something that happened during labour).3 The 2010 West Midlands Confidential Enquiry into Intrapartum Related Deaths found evidence of substandard care in each of the 25 deaths it reviewed.6 In two-thirds of cases, different management would have reasonably been expected to have made a difference to the outcome.
- The death of a baby has a profound and lasting impact on parents and the wider family. We know this from the many voices we have heard and the thousands of families we have supported over the past decades.
- Office for National Statistics (2018), Child mortality in England and Wales: 2016 Birth Characteristics in England and Wales
- Office for National Statistics. Figures for England and Wales are from ONS first release data death registrations, Table 4. Available from
- Perinatal Mortality Report 2009, Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries 2011; available from http://www.hqip.org.uk/assets/NCAPOP-Library/CMACE-Reports/35.-March-2011-Perinatal-Mortality-2009.pdf, last accessed 10 March 2015Flenady V, Koopmans L, Philippa Middleton P et al.
- Major risk factors for stillbirth in high-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2011;377:1331-40.
- Gardosi J, Madurasinghe V,Williams M et al. Maternal and fetal risk factors for stillbirth: population based study. BMJ 2013;346:f108
- West Midlands Perinatal Institute. Confidential Enquiry into Intrapartum Related Deaths. Perinatal Institute for Maternal and Child Health: 2010. Available from www.pi.nhs.uk/pnm/clinicaloutcomereviews/WM_IfH_-_IntrapartumConfidentia..., last accessed 10 March 2015
For more general information on stillbirth and neonatal death please visit the Why babies die section of our site.
Stillbirth and neonatal death is a sensitive subject that many people can find difficult to discuss publically. However, we do have parents and families across the country willing to share their experiences.
If you are looking for a case study please contact our press office.
We have a number of people within Sands and experts from affiliated organisations available for interview or to speak at seminars and events.
They speak on a wide range of issues relating to stillbirth and neonatal death including but not exclusive to the following:
- Why babies die
- Sands’ work, aims and achievements
- What needs to be done to reduce stillbirth and neonatal death
- Support services for parents, families, health professionals and others
- Improving bereavement care
- Research and prevention
- Funding and fundraising
If you require a local or regional perspective, we have representatives who work with local Sands groups across the country. We can also put you in touch with key medical experts who specialise in stillbirth and neonatal death.
If you would like to talk to one of our spokespeople, please contact our press office.