Improving outcomes for women and babies: A midwife's priority
Midwives everywhere strive to provide the best care for women and their families, and make a significant contribution to reducing the stillbirth and maternal mortality rates. In England, the stillbirth rate for 2015 was 4.49 per 1000 total births, compared to 4.66 in 2014 (Office for National Statistics, 2016) (Figure 1). This represents a reduction of 3.6% in 2015 and, if this rate of reduction were to continue until 2020, we could expect a drop of around 20% in the stillbirth rate compared to 2014. The maternal mortality rate in the UK reduced from 14 deaths in 2003/05 to 9 deaths per 100 000 maternities in 2011/13 (Knight et al, 2015).
Figure 1. Stillbirth rates in England since 1993, including projections up to 2020.
When comparing maternity safety outcomes in the UK to other high-income countries, it is clear that improvements must be made. The Lancet (2016) stillbirth series shows that the UK was ranked 24/49 high-income countries for stillbirth rates, and the rate of progress in reducing stillbirth is slower than most of these countries, placing the UK 114/164 countries overall.
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