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RCOG responds to MBRRACE-UK perinatal mortality report

11 Jul 2024

Today, MBRRACE-UK has published a state of the nation report - Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Reports for Births from January to December 2022.

The latest MBRRACE report found stillbirth rates reduced in 2022 across all devolved nations except Scotland. Extended perinatal mortality rates also decreased across the UK between 2021 and 2022, but still remained higher than 2019 and 2020. There were increases in the neonatal mortality rate in England and Wales compared with 2021.

Wide ethnic and deprivation inequalities remain in the rates of stillbirth and neonatal mortality. Despite a decrease in stillbirth rates across all ethnic groups, babies of Black ethnicity were still more than twice as likely to be stillborn than babies of white ethnicity. Also, while stillbirth rates for babies born to mothers from the most deprived areas decreased, they remain much higher than those born to mothers from the least deprived.

The analysis also found the most common causes of stillborn and neonatal deaths remained unchanged. The cause of death remains unknown in a high proportion of stillbirths (33.9%).

Responding to the report, Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said: “While it is encouraging to see some positive overall trends in the rates of stillbirth and perinatal mortality in 2022, there remained significant variation in the outcomes for babies of Black and Asian ethnicity and for those born in the most deprived areas. Tackling this should be an urgent priority for the new government.

"The College is committed to working collaboratively with the government, NHS and other partners to deliver better outcomes for pregnant women, birthing people and babies. As President, ensuring the RCOG is focused on reducing racial inequalities is also one of my key priorities.

"We must now see the government implement fully funded policies and programmes to ensure every pregnant woman and birthing person receives high-quality, personalised and safe maternity care. The College welcomed Labour’s explicit manifesto commitment to reducing health inequalities, including a pledge to close the Black and Asian maternal mortality gap. We encourage the government to set a time-limit for achieving this, and look forward to supporting this vital work.”
  • Read the full MBRRACE-UK report here.
  • To find out more about the RCOG maternity safety programme click here. 
  • Clinical and research
  • Pregnancy and birth