Stillbirth statistics

1 in every 250 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth in the UK. That’s 8 babies every day.

Stillbirth statistics  

  • In 2021, 1 in every 250 pregnancies ended in stillbirth

  • 2,866 babies were stillborn in 2021 in the UK

  • The stillbirth rate in England and Wales is 4.1 stillbirths per 1,000 total births, up from 3.8 in 2020

  • Approximately 8 babies were stillborn every day

  • Poland and Czech Republic all have better stillbirth rates than UK

Neonatal death Statistics

  • In 2021, 1,715 babies who were born after 24 weeks’ gestation died in their first 28 days of life in England and Wales

  • For every 1,000 babies born, nearly 3 died within 28 days in 2021 in England and Wales

Stillbirth risks

  • In women with a high BMI (over 26) the risk of stillbirth increases by around 20% with every 5 extra BMI points on the scale
    • 2 in 10 women in Wales had a BMI over 30 at their initial pregnancy assessment, continuing the upward trend in increasing BMI in Wales for pregnant people

  • In women who smoke during pregnancy, the risk of stillbirth goes up depending on how much is smoked:

    • the risk of stillbirth is 52% higher in pregnant women who smoked 10 or more

    • the risk of stillbirth was 9% higher for those smoking 1 to 9 cigarettes a day.

  • In women with a previous stillbirth, the risk of another increases 4 times, from 1% to 2.5%

Why do stillbirths happen?

  • According to one study of 1064 pregnancies, around 60% of stillbirths are unexplained. Doctors cannot tell parents why their baby died.

  • The same study ranked the following reasons for the stillbirths that could be explained:

Reduced fetal movement and stillbirth

When a baby is getting less oxygen or nutrients in the womb, they will move less to conserve energy, therefore reduced baby movements can be a sign that something is wrong (and should be reported immediately).

  • 50% of mothers who had a stillbirth noticed slowing down of baby movements beforehand

Stillbirth and mental health

Women who have suffered stillbirth or neonatal death are more likely to have anxiety and depression afterwards.

  • One study in the US of 800 women showed that women who had a stillbirth were twice as likely to have depression  compared to those how had live births. This effect had actually increased when they were studied again 2 years later, showing that stillbirth has a long term effect on mental health

  • Another study of 609 women who had experienced a stillbirth or neonatal death, showed that women who had loss:

Media requests about stillbirth

Our clinicians, scientists and researchers are available to speak about stillbirth and stillbirth statistics for press and media. If you are a journalist interested in speaking to a clinician from a Tommy's stillbirth research centre, please contact Tommy's press office on 0207 398 3436 or email [email protected].

Find out more

Stillbirth information and support

Read about what Tommy's is doing to reduce stillbirth rates

ONS. (2022) Births in England and Wales 2021 [Online]. Available on: (Accessed: 09/03/23) 

ONS (2022) Birth characteristics in England and Wales 2021 [Online]. Available on: (Accessed: 09/03/23) 

ONS. (2022) Child and Infant Mortality in England and Wales 2021 [Online]. Available on: (Accessed: 09/03/23)  

National Records of Scotland (2022) Vital Events Reference Table 2021 [Online]. Available on: (Accessed: 09/03/23) 

NISRA (2022) Registrar General Annual Report 2021 Stillbirths and Infant Deaths [Online]. Available on (Accessed: 09/03/23) 

Maternity and Birth statistics: 2021 [Online]. Available on (Accessed 09/03/2023) 

Aune D, Saugstad OD, Henriksen T, Tonstad S. Maternal Body Mass Index and the Risk of Fetal Death, Stillbirth, and Infant DeathA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014;311(15):1536–1546. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.2269 

Marufu TC, Ahankari A et al (2015) Maternal smoking and the risk of still birth: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health201515:239 

Lamont K, Scott NW et al (2015) Risk of recurrent stillbirth: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2015 Jun 24;350:h3080. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h3080 

Man J , Hutchinson JC (2016), Stillbirth and intrauterine fetal death: factors affecting determination of cause of death at autopsy. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol, 48: 566-573. doi:10.1002/uog.16016 

RCOG (2011) Reduced fetal movements guideline 2011, green-top guideline no. 57, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London, England, 

Hogue, Carol J R et al. “The association of stillbirth with depressive symptoms 6-36 months post-delivery” Paediatric and perinatal epidemiology vol. 29,2 (2015): 131-43. 

Gold KJ, Leon I, Boggs ME, Sen A.  Depression and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms After Perinatal Loss in a Population-Based Sample.  J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2015 Aug 10. [Epub ahead of print]