Stillbirth is not a rare tragedy: in the UK in 2014, one in every 219 births was a stillbirth. This is around 10 babies a day.
When stillbirths are included in 2014 infant mortality figures, they account for more than half of the deaths of infants under 1 year in the UK1.
In the last 20 years the decline in stillbirth rates which accompanied advances in maternity care has slowed. Stillbirth rates remained largely unchanged from the late 1990s to 2011. More recent figures have showed a renewed decline and the rate is now at its lowest level since 1992. However, much more needs to be done.
Around one third of stillbirths happen at term (after 37 weeks gestation), the age when a baby is preparing to start life outside the womb2.
1. 2014 data from the Office for National Statistics (Child Mortality Statistics 2014, Table 2; available from www.ons.gov.uk)
2. Manktelow BN, Smith LK, Seaton SE et al on behalf of the MBRRACE-UK Collaboration. MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report,
UK Perinatal Deaths for Births from January to December 2014. Available from www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/downloads/files/mbrrace-uk/reports/MBRRACE-UK-PMS-Report-2014.pdf