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Perinatal Mortality

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to reduce the rate of stillbirths; (173927)

(2) when he expects to reply to question 173927, tabled by the hon. Member for North East Milton Keynes on 11 December 2007, on stillbirths.

In April 2007, the Department published “Maternity Matters—Choice access and continuity of care in a safe service”. The Department also publishes “The Pregnancy Book” for prospective parents, the most recent edition of which was published in May 2007. These two publications, one providing a framework for maternity services and the other providing information for parents, ensure that women can expect well-managed pregnancies in which the risks of stillbirth are reduced. However, one of the main causes of stillbirth remains very low gestational age. While increasingly large numbers of babies are surviving earlier deliveries, this remains an area of risk.