Improving data collection and sharing safety strategies key to reducing stillbirth rate says RCM on MBRRACE report

By RCM on 14 June 2018 MBRRACE Stillbirth Report Midwives Neonatal Death

Today (Friday June 15th) the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has responded to the MBRRACE- UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report for births in 2016.

This, the fourth publication of the MBRRACE-UK perinatal mortality surveillance data for the UK, shows that the stillbirth rate associated with twin pregnancy in the UK has reduced by around 44% over the period 2014 to 2016. Rates of neonatal mortality associated with twin pregnancy have similarly reduced by a third.

According to the report, although the stillbirth and neonatal deaths rates overall are reducing over time, the reduction in these rates between 2013 and 2016 is around 6.5%.

Commenting on the report, RCM’s Head of Quality and Standards Mandy Forrester said; “The RCM’s quality and standards team have reviewed the data contained in this report and we are pleased to see a downward trend in the number of stillbirths and neonatal mortality rates since 2013.  However, there is much to take away from the findings of this report  that will go towards not only helping midwives, but the entire maternity team, improve how they deliver the safest possible care for women and their babies.’

“Overall the mortality rates between 2013 and 2016 have reduced and there is an improved survival of twins with the stillbirth rate reduced by almost half since 2014 and neonatal deaths have reduced by nearly a third for the same period. There is still a need to reduce the neonatal death rate which has not fallen as much as the stillbirth rate and it is vital maternity services put even greater efforts into reducing both.

“Unfortunately there still remains wide regional variation across England and disappointingly there’s a wide variation in the timing of the reporting of deaths to MBRRACE. The variation in stillbirth rates across the UK remains a concern. This could be because of the socio-economic wellbeing of communities, and we know inequality is linked to higher stillbirth rates and poorer outcomes for babies. It may also be in the quality of local services and this needs investigation.

“It is imperative that we learn from each of these tragic deaths.  Maternity services must strive to learn from each other about the best ways to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths and improving data collection and sharing safety strategies is key to this.

“Some of these deaths will have been avoidable and for all losses, we must never lose sight of the devastating impact a tragedy like this will have on parents and families, who will need skilled bereavement care.

"We also need to be ensuring women receive continuity of carer – that is the woman seeing the same midwife or small team of midwives throughout her pregnancy, labour and post natal period. This way the midwife will get to know the woman and will be more readily able to spot changes in her condition.”



To contact the RCM Media Relations Team call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].

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