Some facts about stillbirths
India, Pakistan, Nigeria and China are among the top ten countries with the highest rate of stillbirths.
Some 2.6 million stillbirths occurred worldwide in 2009, according to the first comprehensive set of estimates published on Wednesday in a series of papers in the Lancet medical journal.
Here are some of the findings:
Have you experienced a stillbirth?
- Every day more than 7,200 babies are stillborn.
- The World Health Organization defines stillbirth as a baby that dies after the 28th week of gestation, or during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
- The main causes of stillbirth are childbirth complications, maternal infections in pregnancy such as syphilis, maternal health problems such hypertension and diabetes, foetal growth restriction, in which the baby fails to achieve expected growth targets, and birth defects.
- Stillbirths disproportionately affect the poor, with 98% of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. An African woman has a 24 times greater risk of stillbirth than a woman in a high-income country.
- More than two-thirds of stillbirths occur in rural families where access to prenatal and obstetric care is limited.
- Some 1.2 million stillbirths occur during labour and birth, and most of these are babies that could be saved with access to quality care at birth.
- Stillbirths fell by a rate of 1.1% per year between 1995 and 2009, a rate that lags behind improvements in maternal and newborn death rates.
- Ten countries account for 66% of the world's stillbirths. They are: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Tanzania and Afghanistan.