- 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
- 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:
- were 4 times more likely to have depression
- were 7 times more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder
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].