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RCOG response to latest MBRRACE-UK perinatal mortality report

14 Sept 2023

Today, the annual MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance report has been published looking at data from January to December 2021.

The report directly compares stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates in 2020 and 2021, and also analyses trends from 2013 – 2021.

Responding to the report, Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“It is concerning to read today’s report, especially to see that perinatal mortality rates increased in 2021 after seven years of year-on-year reduction. Further research needs to take place to understand the reasoning behind these increases.

“Urgent action is required to address this step backwards and to drive sustained reductions in both the inequalities highlighted and increased rates of perinatal mortality. The RCOG is one of over 200 member organisations of the Inequalities in Health Alliance calling for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities.

“We are also committed to developing better clinical solutions to reduce stillbirth rates. The RCOG and RCM’s Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement is piloting a new digital tool to identify and support women with higher risk pregnancies. The tool is able to identify early in pregnancy a woman’s chance of preterm birth or of developing problems with the placenta that may lead to stillbirth and provides decision support by offering care recommendations aligned to national guidance.”

The analysis shows an increase in perinatal mortality rates across the UK in 2021 after seven years of year on year reduction. There are notable increases in stillbirth rates for women from the most deprived areas, as well as babies of Black ethnicity, widening existing inequalities.

The report also highlights that neonatal deaths in 2021 increased across all groups of women, including those from the most and least deprived areas, and babies born to Black, Asian and white women.

Alongside the findings, the researchers have made key recommendations to UK Governments, Royal Colleges and Commissioners to improve perinatal outcomes across the UK, including the need for ongoing targeted action to support the reduction of health inequalities. As a College we will review the recommendations that are within our remit. 


  • To read the full MBRRACE report including recommendations, here.
  • To find out more about the RCOG maternity safety programmes, here. 
  • To find out more about the RCOG’s ambition for race equality in obstetrics and gynaecology, here. 
  • You can read about the case for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities, here.


  • Clinical and research
  • Pregnancy and birth