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Childbirth

Health written question – answered on 4th September 2014.

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Photo of Jim Dobbin Jim Dobbin Labour, Heywood and Middleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of changes in the survival rate of babies born before 24 weeks gestation; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The latest data published by the Office for National Statistics in October 2013 shows that very few live births occur before 24 weeks gestation. Infant mortality rates for babies born this early remain extremely high. For babies born in 2011, 1 in 1,000 of live births occurred at less than 24 weeks; the infant mortality rate for these babies was 894.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Data from the Epicure series of studies of survival and later health among babies and young people who were born at extremely low gestations found there was no difference in the ongoing illnesses or complications affecting surviving babies born between 22 and 25 weeks gestation in 1995 and 2006. High levels of disability were present at 6 years of age in surviving children born before 24 weeks, including cerebral palsy, low cognitive scores, mobility problems, blindness or profound hearing loss.

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