Need to do even better says RCM on stillbirth statistics

By RCM on 16 October 2017 Stillbirth Home Birth Public Health Low Birthweight

Today the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published statistics on births, including home births and stillbirth rates. Commenting on the statistics, Louise Silverton, Director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The drop in home births is a concern and we need to know why this is happening.

"We know many women are being denied this choice because of staffing shortages and resource issues, and this is not good enough. We need to ensure that those women who choose a home birth get the birth that they want.

“The reduction is stillbirths is very welcome and shows that we are making progress. However, we need to do even better. Reducing smoking in pregnancy and levels of obesity, among other things, will contribute towards reducing stillbirths, so more investment is needed in these areas.

“The lack of change in the number of babies with low birthweight is also a concern. Again, greater efforts are needed here to change lifestyles that can lead to low birthweight babies such as smoking in pregnancy. Cuts to public health services particularly smoking cessation services  to support other families members to stop, need to be reversed and indeed increased in some cases.”

The ONS Birth characteristics in England and Wales: 2016 can be seen on the ONS website.


Notes to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at