Poorer mothers are three times more likely to havestillbornchildren than those from more affluent backgrounds, according to a new study.
The wide-ranging research also found that high levels of stress doubled the likelihood of stillbirth, irrespective of other social factors and pregnancy complications. Unemployed mothers were almost three times more at risk.Stillbirths, which refers to when a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy, occur in around one in every 200 births in England. The stillbirth rate in the UK is 24th out of 49 high-income countries.Researchers said getting more antenatal care can stop women from having a stillbirth — with mothers who went to more appointments than national rules stipulate having a 72 per cent lower risk.
Jane Brewin, Tommy’s chief executive, said: “This research shows that stillbirth is not a problem we can solve with healthcare alone. The complex relationships identified here between stillbirth and social stresses make it clear that the government’s prevention strategy must extend beyond the NHS to tackle these deeper underlying issues within society.”
Ros Bragg, director of Maternity Action, told The Independent there is an “urgent need” for the government to take measures to tackle poverty and deprivation in pregnancy.
She said it is known that “good employment, decent housing and well-funded maternity pay and benefits” are crucially key to ensuring the good health of pregnant women and their babies.