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Health: Multiple Births

Volume 701: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to reduce the neonatal morbidity rate among multiple birth pregnancies. [HL3148]

Twin and other multiple pregnancies carry a higher risk of the factors related to neonatal mortality and morbidity, such as pre-term birth and low birth weight. We are supporting research into gaining improved understanding and prevention of the trigger factors that are associated with pre-term birth through a range of funding mechanisms across the National Health Service National Institute for Health Research and the department's policy research programme.

The Government are committed to the provision of high-quality maternity and neonatal services to help ensure that all babies have the best possible start to life. We have developed a new maternity indicator, through the “Better Care for All” public service agreements, aimed at ensuring that women have early access to maternity care. This will enable early identification of women with a multiple pregnancy, enabling the progress of the pregnancy to be closely monitored.

For babies requiring neonatal critical care, we have facilitated the development of 23 neonatal networks across England to provide safe and effective services. A neonatal task force has recently been established to support the NHS to identify and deliver any further improvements.