Childbirth

Department of Health written question – answered on 12th September 2014.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many babies who were born before 24 weeks gestation survived in each of the last five years.

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.

The following table shows the most recently available data on the number of live births prior to 24 weeks gestation, and the number of those births that survived until one year of age, in England and Wales. The data for 2007 and 2008 has been combined.

Gestational age (weeks)

Number of live

births

Number of

survived babies

up until 1 year

after birth

2011

Under 22 weeks & birthweight < 1,000g

220

4

22 weeks

178

10

23 weeks

305

60

2010

Under 22 weeks & birthweight < 1,000g

247

5

22 weeks

171

11

23 weeks

332

76

2009

Under 22 weeks & birthweight < 1,000g

235

4

22 weeks

152

10

23 weeks

296

79

2007/08

Under 22 weeks & birthweight < 1,000g

368

10

22 weeks

312

20

23 weeks

683

135

Source: ONS

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