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How many babies die before and shortly after they are born each year?
On average eleven babies are stillborn (die after the 24th week of pregnancy) and six babies die neonatally (die within the first four weeks of life) every day in the UK. This is why we have focused on the number 17, and called our campaign to raise awareness of these issues, Why17?
The latest figures we have for the numbers of babies dying shortly before they were born or within the first four weeks of life are from 2008. A total of 6,600 babies died that year.
Are more or fewer babies dying every year?
The total number of babies being born every year is increasing so it follows that the number of babies who die also increases. How, therefore, do we know if the situation overall is getting better, staying the same or getting worse?
To understand whether stillbirths and neonatal deaths are becoming more or less common relative to the number of babies born every year, health analysts look at rates rather than numbers.
Rates are worked out according to the number of deaths for every 1000 babies born. The stillbirth rate in the UK is 5.1/1000. That means there are 5.1 stillbirths for every 1000 births, including live births and stillbirths. That is approximately the same as one stillbirth for every 200 births.
The neonatal death rate in the UK is measured against the number of live births and is 3.2/1000. In other words, for every 300 babies born alive, one baby dies in the first four weeks of life.
The latest figures we have for these rates are for 2008.