Sadly, the death of a baby is not a rare tragedy: 14 babies died before, during or soon after birth every day in the UK in 2018.
Baby deaths in the UK
The death of a baby is not rare. Every day in the UK around 14 babies die before, during or soon after birth. That means nearly every two hours a family is faced with the devastation of the death of their baby. This is unacceptable.
So it’s shocking that a lack of dedicated bereavement rooms in hospitals means mums and dads have nowhere private to spend precious time with their baby before they have to say goodbye.
Or that gaps in training for health professionals mean parents whose hopes and happiness have been shattered are sent home without a sensitive explanation about why their baby died.
New annual stillbirth and neonatal death statistics
Figures published last year by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of babies who are stillborn or die within 4 weeks of birth in the UK has fallen to an average of 14 babies a day - that’s 345 fewer baby deaths in 2018 than in 2017.
After decades of stagnation, the UK’s stillbirth rate is now falling. The downward trend has now been sustained for seven years. This is the result of a concerted national drive to reduce stillbirths, prompted by persistent calls from Sands and others. Since 2016, government and NHS initiatives have been put in place and are starting to have an effect, but there is no room for complacency.
Neonatal death rates have plateaued since 2012. It’s critical this changes and rates of deaths in newborns mirror the downward trend in the rate of stillbirths. 1 in 3 of all deaths of children under 18 are newborns
Find out more about the significant fall in the number of babies dying.