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Still birth death rates continue to fall

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Stillbirth rates continue to fall across the UK, research shows, although around one in four stillborn babies are born to obese mothers.

A report from the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (Cmace) found the death rate for babies around the time of birth fell from 8.3 per 1,000 births in 2000 to 7.5 per 1,000 in 2008.

The number of stillbirths fell from 5.4 per 1,000 in 2000 to 5.1 in 2008.

Rates of stillbirth and deaths in the fist month of life have fallen for twin births, which have raised concerns due to the numbers of twins born as a result of IVF.

The report also highlighted well-known risks for stillbirth and infant death, including that they are higher among mothers under 25 and over 40.

Women living in the most deprived areas are also 1.7 times more likely to have a stillbirth and more than twice as likely to have their baby die in the first month compared to women in the wealthiest areas.

Richard Congdon, Cmace chief executive, said: “Although there is encouraging progress in reducing perinatal mortality in the UK, the substantial variations between the different parts of the UK and between people depending on factors such as lifestyle and ethnicity, show that significant further improvement is possible.”

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