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Exciting news as stillbirths decrease for multiples

17th October 2017

We had some exciting news in the Tamba office this week which we just couldn’t wait to share – multiple birth stillbirths have decreased dramatically.

After Baby Loss Awareness Week last week, it seems more pertinent than ever that this good news has finally arrived. And while we definitely acknowledge that more work needs to be done, this is a really positive step forward for our families.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) published their birth data for England and Wales 2016 yesterday. And while it revealed that multiple births and births overall have decreased slightly, stillbirths of twins, triplets and more have decreased dramatically.

Multiple birth babies have represented about 3% of all births for the last few years. But sadly they have always represented a higher percentage of stillbirths: 6.2% in 2013, 7.2% in 2014 and 7.2% in 2015. But in 2016 the figure was 5.9%.

If you prefer numbers rather than percentages, this equates to 206 twin, triplet and more stillbirths in 2013, 234 in 2014, 226 in 2015 and 185 in 2016. So after seeing a steady increase in stillbirths for the last few years, the numbers dramatically dropped in 2016.

Our Support Services Manager Helen Turier said: “The decrease in stillbirth rates for multiples is very promising news.

“We hope this means that the Government target to reduce stillbirths by 50% by 2030 is on course.

“Although the overall number of multiple birth babies has decreased from 2015 to 2016, historically they are still comparatively high.”

There are a number of projects Tamba has been investing, supporting, contributing and campaigning on to make sure our multiple birth babies get the best possible care. You can read more about this work here. 

There were 696,271 babies born in England and Wales in 2016, compared to 697,852 in 2015.

There were 10,951 women who gave birth to multiples in 2016 compared to 11,073 in 2015. Of these, 10,786 women had twins and 160 had triplets. There were also five sets of quads and above born.

The ONS revealed 15.9 in every 1,000 women giving birth had multiples in 2016. This has fallen from the 2015 figures of 16.1 in 1,000.

The ONS website said “Since 1993, women aged 45 and over have consistently recorded the highest multiple maternity rate; this is due to higher levels of assisted fertility treatments at these ages, including medicines which stimulate ovulation and assisted conception which includes In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

“When comparing 2016 with 2015, the overall decrease in the multiple maternity rate has been driven by the fall in the rate for women aged 30 and over; the rate increased slightly for women aged under 25, but remained unchanged for those aged 25 to 29.”

If you want to learn more and read the full report on the ONS website click here.

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