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Twin survival improves

Friday June 15th, 2018

The UK has made significant and speedy progress in improving the survival of twins at birth, according to a major annual analysis published today.

Over three years the stillbirth rate associated with these pregnancies fell by 44% while neonatal mortality has fallen by a third, according to the latest findings of the MBRRACE-UK project.

The improvements occurred between 2014 and 2016, the researchers report.

Overall stillbirth and neonatal death rates fell by 6.5% between 2013 and 2016.

Professor Elizabeth Draper, who leads the project at Leicester University, said further investigation of the improvements in twin health could help with lessons for other high risk pregnancies.

She said: “It’s great to see that there has been a significant reduction in the stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates associated with twin pregnancies.”

Fellow researcher Professor Jenny Kurinczuk, from the University of Oxford, said: “The findings in the MBRRACE-UK report this year are mixed with a welcome reduction in death rates for twins but with little change in the overall picture since 2015. What the figures also highlight however, is the need to focus on the causes and effects of preterm birth and stillbirths in pregnancies which haven’t reached term.

“About 70% of all stillbirths and neonatal deaths occur preterm with about 40% at less than 28 weeks gestation.”

Professor Russel Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said “much more” needed to be done.

He said: “The report authors are right, there is no single solution to reduce the number of babies dying but what we do know is that babies born to families living in areas of high deprivation or to mothers who have poor maternal health, are those most at risk. Stop smoking and substance misuse support must be offered to those high-risk groups and so too should services that promote breastfeeding and good nutrition before, during and after pregnancy.

“Health visitors are essential in delivering this care. But budget cuts have disproportionately affected public health funding for children’s services which means that the health visiting service is stretched to deliver checks to all families – let alone those most in need who require specific support.”

Report: https://oxfile.ox.ac.uk/oxfile/work/extBox?execution=e2s1

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | NHS | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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