This week has seen The Lancet medical journal publish “Ending Preventable Stillbirths” highlighting the lack of progress made in reducing the 2.6 million lives lost globally every year from stillbirths.

The data reflects on a lack of progress made on preventing stillbirth across the world and follows on from the original Lancet series from 2011, which aimed to give a voice to the mothers of the 7,200 babies stillborn around the world every day.

In the UK alone, the number of stillbirths is around ten times higher than the number of cot deaths, and the report states that out of every 1,000 births, 2.9 are stillborn. Half of all stillbirths occur during labour and delivery, usually after nine months and most of these could be prevented with an improved quality of care, with only 7.4% of stillbirths due to congenital abnormalities. Intervention at the critical time around birth would result in a triple return on investment, preventing maternal and newborn deaths as well as stillbirth.

The report also details the significant psychological, social and economic impact of stillbirths for parents, families and governments. As well as more investment in high quality neonatal health care, the report calls for improvements bereavement care to contribute toward lessening the long term negative impact of stillbirth loss, with 4.2 million women living with symptoms of depression following stillbirth.

The Mariposa Trust helps people who have been affected by the loss of a child at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. Through the Mariposa Trust, people have an opportunity to attend remembrance services; at least 20 services took place across the UK last year and with international services now also planned. Additionally the trust is working with Government and Health Professionals to improve the care and support of people pre, during and post baby loss. The Trust is led by the founders Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates, who are Trustee/Directors, with their website receiving around 650,000 hits per month, and support offered by The Mariposa Trust (Saying Goodbye) reaching in excess of 50,000 people per week. For more information on the work of the Mariposa Trust visit www.mariposatrust.org.