Sexual and reproductive health

Stillbirths

Pregnant woman having her blood pressure measured
WHO/L.Taylor
Skilled care during pregnancy and delivery helps reduce the number of stillbirths

Some 2.6 million stillbirths occurred worldwide in 2009, according to the first comprehensive set of estimates published in a special series of The Lancet. Every day more than 7200 babies are stillborn — a death just when parents expect to welcome a new life — and 98% of them occur in low- and middle-income countries. Well-known interventions for improving maternal and newborn health would reduce the number of stillbirths too.

WHO and partners undertook an updated analysis of national, regional and worldwide stillbirth rates estimates and numbers for 193 WHO Member States for 2009 and trends since 1995. The findings have a number of policy implications, particularly in countries where women have less access to good-quality reproductive health care including pregnancy and childbirth care.