Statistics about stillbirth

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

8 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK

How common is stillbirth in the UK?  

  • In 2018 1 in every 250 pregnancies ended in a stillbirth
  • 2,943 babies were stillborn in 2018 in the UK
  • For every 1,000 babies born, 4.1 were stillborn 
  • Around 8 babies were stillborn every day
  • Croatia, Poland and Czech Republic all have better stillbirth rates than UK

How common is neonatal death (death in the first 28 days)?

  • In 2018 there were 2,131 neonatal deaths in the UK
  • For every 1,000 babies born 2.8 died within 28 days

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
  • 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 for press and media. If you are 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

Read more information and support for parents who have suffered a stillbirth here.

Read about what Tommy's is doing to cut stillbirth rates here

Read more about our research into stillbirth

  • The Lupus in Pregnancy (LIPS) Clinic

    The Lupus in Pregnancy (LIPS) Clinic

    The Lupus in Pregnancy (LIPS) Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. This specialist antenatal clinic is for pregnant women with Lupus Spectrum disorders and connective tissue disorders.

  • Velocity Clinic

    VELOCITY Clinic

    The Manchester VELOCITY Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. The clinic provides multidisciplinary care for women who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

  • The Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service (MAViS)

    The Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service (MAViS)

    The Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service (MAViS) is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. The clinic supports women who have a high risk of hypertension in pregnancy, by monitoring women closely, giving them extra scans and specialist support.

  • A header image with the words 'The Rainbow Clinic'

    The Rainbow Clinic

    The Rainbow Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester. It provides specialist care for women who have suffered a previous stillbirth or neonatal death.

  • A header image with the words 'The Placenta Clinic'

    The Placenta Clinic

    The Manchester Placenta Clinic is part of the Tommy's Research Centre at St Mary's Hospital. The clinic aims to improve the care of pregnant women who have, or are at risk of having, babies with fetal growth restriction.

  • researcher looking through microscope

    Tommy’s Manchester Research Centre

    The Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester is made up of internationally renowned clinicians, scientists and researchers investigating stillbirth and associated pregnancy complications.

  • Team of researchers

    Research into stillbirth

    When a baby dies after 24 weeks of gestation, it is called a stillbirth. Nearly 3000 families a year get the devastating news that their baby is not alive. Our research is helping to change this.

Why our stillbirth research is necessary



  1. ONS (2018) Vital statistics in the UK: births, deaths and marriages - 2018 update, Office of National Statistics, London, England,
  2. 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
  3. Marufu TC, Ahankari A et al (2015) Maternal smoking and the risk of still birth: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health201515:239
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. RCOG (2011) Reduced fetal movements guideline 2011, green-top guideline no. 57, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London, England,
  7. 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.
  8. 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]


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