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Childbirth

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many births there were at (a) under 20 weeks, (b) between 20 and 23 weeks, (c) between 24 and 27 weeks, (d) between 28 and 31 weeks and (e) between 32 and 36 weeks gestation in 2007-08. (258140)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK statistics authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell dated February 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many premature births there were at (a) under 20 weeks, (b) between 20 and 23 weeks, (c) between 24 and 27 weeks, (d) between 28 and 31 weeks and (e) between 32 and 36 weeks gestation in 2007-08.

Figures on premature births in England and Wales are only available for 2005. These figures are not routinely published by ONS as information on gestational age is not collected at birth registration. Since 2005, ONS has had access to NHS numbers for babies records which include information on gestational age and this has been linked to birth registration records.

(a) Figures on live births under 20 weeks gestation are not available.

(b) There were 312 live births under 22 weeks gestation. Of these, 100 live births had a birth weight of 1,000 grams and above. This recording is implausible and raises concerns about the accuracy in the recording of gestational age, birth weight or both. There were 435 live births at 22-23 weeks gestation.

(c) There 2,431 live births between 24 and 27 weeks gestation.

(d) There were 5,825 live births between 28 and 31 weeks gestation.

(e) There were 39,538 live births between 32 and 36 weeks gestation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the survival rates were for babies born at (a) under 20 weeks, (b) between 20 and 23 weeks, (c) between 24 and 27 weeks, (d) between 28 and 31 weeks and (e) between 32 and 36 weeks gestation in each year since 1997. (258141)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK statistics authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell dated February 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the survival rates were for premature babies born at (a) under 20 weeks, (b) between 20 and 23 weeks, and (c) between 24 and 27 weeks, (d) between 28 and 31 weeks and (e) between 32 and 36 weeks gestation in each year since 1997.

Survival rates for premature babies in England and Wales are only available for 2005. These figures are not routinely published by ONS as information on gestational age is not collected at birth or death registration. However, since 2005, ONS has had access to NHS numbers for babies records which include information on gestational age and this has been linked to birth and infant death registration records.

Survival rates for babies born under 20 weeks gestation are not available. Figures are however available for babies born under 22 weeks gestation and 22 to 36 weeks gestation that survived to age one. These are shown in the following table.

Survival to age 1 of babies born in England and Wales by gestation weeks, 2005

Gestation (weeks)

Survival to age 1 (percentage)

Under 22 weeks and birth weight under 1,000g

1.4

Under 22 weeks and birth weight 1,000g and over1

73.0

22-23

12.0

24-27

70.2

28-31

94.8

32-36

98.9

1 There were 100 live births born under 22 weeks with a birth weight of 1,000 grams and above. This recording is implausible and raises concerns about the accuracy in the recording of gestational age, birth weight or both.