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Midwives comment on The Lancet series on stillbirths

For embargoed release, 00:01 Thursday 14th April 2011

Commenting on the release today of The Lancet series on stillbirth, RCM Director of Learning Research and Practice Development Frances Day–Stirk said: “This series raises a number of important concerns by highlighting the issues and potential interventions to reduce the stillbirth rates.  Although 98% of stillbirths occur in low or middle income countries, it remains a concern for high income countries, including the UK. Most evident is the correlation with socioeconomic disadvantage and ethnicity as common denominators (for stillbirth) irrespective of a country's income.”

“Whilst the World Health Organization uses a 28 week gestation to measure the stillbirth rate, and many high income countries use a lower gestation, such as 24 weeks in the UK, the stillbirth rates are significantly further increased. Stillbirth crosses all economic boundaries and leaves women and their families facing sadness and loss from situations that are sometimes avoidable with good antenatal care and access to skilled attendance at birth and basic obstetric care.”

“Stillbirth is not well addressed within healthcare goals. A number of stillbirths are avoidable if risk factors are identified and treated appropriately. The global  challenge is in ensuring that midwives, doctors and health workers are aware of preventable  risks and minimise these risks, so that every effort is made to provide interventions; for example, the screening and treatment of infection.”


For more information contact the RCM Press Office on 020 7312 3456, pressofficer@rcm.org.uk

For more information about The Lancet’s series on stillbirths, please contact The Lancet press office on 0207 424 4949.

Notes to editors
The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. We are the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are our members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. We support and represent our members individually and collectively in all four UK countries.  We influence on behalf of our members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care.  For more information visit the RCM website at www.rcm.org.uk.


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