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Petitioning Department for Health Jeremy Hunt

The Sunday Times Safer Births Campaign to reduce the number of stillbirths in Britain


More than 3,500 babies are stillborn in Britain every year, more per head than Poland, Croatia and Estonia.

The alarming figures, to be published by the Office for National Statistics later this year, have been released by Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

They emerge as The Sunday Times launches a campaign to reduce the number of stillbirths and the agony suffered by thousands of parents each year.

Sands found there were 3,564 stillbirths in the UK in 2014, the latest figures available, and that the stillbirth rate of 4.6 per 1,000 births has barely fallen in recent years.

A separate study in The Lancet found that Poland, Croatia and Estonia have a lower rate of stillbirths than Britain.

The annual rate at which stillbirths have reduced in the UK since 2000 has averaged just 1.8%. It has been 6.8% in Holland and 3.5% in Poland.

Experts believe a 60% reduction in stillbirths could be achieved by applying basic care guidelines.

The Sunday Times Safer Births campaign aims to:

  • Reduce stillbirths of “term” babies by 60% by applying basic care guidelines on monitoring and intervention
  • Ensure that a consultant obstetrician is present in all large maternity hospitals 24/7
  • Use earlier medical intervention such as caesarean section to save babies or mothers at risk
  • Measure babies’ growth according to guidelines and act on poor growth
  • Listen to mothers who report concerns about reduced foetal movements, and investigate
  • Monitor a baby’s heartbeat and correctly interpret readings
  • Give mothers the right to a caesarean section when they express concern
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