MP Jim Fitzpatrick backs Sands charity’s bid to reduce stillbirth rates in UK

MP Jim Fitzpatrick has pledged support for more research to prevent 1,200 avoidable stillbirths every year.

The stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands estimates 6,500 babies in Britain are stillborn or die shortly after birth—but claims at least one-in-three could be saved through more research, better care and greater awareness of risk.

“I was shocked to discover the scale of baby deaths,” said the Poplar and Limehouse MP at the Parliamentary launch of the charity’s latest report.

“Stillbirth is the largest contributor to child deaths under the age of five. It hits 17 babies every day.

“These deaths have a devastating impact on their families.”

Advances in neonatal medicine have led to small reductions in newborn babies dying, the report acknowledges.

But the persistently-high rates are the same today as they were more than a decade ago, with one-in-200 babies being stillborn, it points out.

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The charity’s chief executive, Neal Long, told MPs: “Routine antenatal care is failing to detect that far too many babies need help.

“These are avoidable deaths—we need a real commitment to tackling this national tragedy.”

The charity says better research will help save more infants and would spare many families “the desperate heartbreak of losing their precious baby.”