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Number of stillborn babies falls to record low

Since 2007, the rate has fallen by 19.2%.

The number of stillbirths in England and Wales has fallen to a record low.

There were 2,873 stillborn babies in 2017 compared with 3,112 in 2016, a decrease of 7.7%, official figures show.

This is the lowest number since records began in 1927, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The rate decreased from 4.4 per 1,000 births in 2016 to 4.2 in 2017, the lowest in 90 years.

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(PA Graphics)

Since 2007, the rate has fallen by 19.2%.

In 1927, there were 26,021 babies stillborn and 38.3 per 1,000 births.

Nicola Haines of the ONS said: “The stillbirth rate has dropped to a record low, declining each year since 2011.

“It is a step towards achieving a government ambition to reduce the rate of stillbirths by introducing new maternity strategies while ensuring the best and safest care.”

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(PA Graphics)

There were 679,106 live births in England and Wales in 2017, a decrease of 2.5% from 2016 and the lowest number since 2006, the figures show.

Nearly three in 10 (28.4%) births were to mothers born outside the UK, up from 28.2% last year and rising for the 27th consecutive year.

Fertility rates decreased for every age group apart from women over 40, where there was a 1.3% increase from 2016.

The rate – 16.1 births per 1,000 women in that age group – is the highest since 1949.

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(PA Graphics)

For the third consecutive year, and the third time since 1947, the fertility rate for women over 40 exceeded the rate for women under 20.

Ms Haines said: “Birth rates for live births have decreased for all women except those aged 40 years and over where the birth rate has continued to rise, following a trend seen for the last 40 years.

“Despite this, the proportion of women aged 40 and over having a baby still remains below that seen in the 1940s.”

The average age of mothers has increased from 26.4 in 1975 to 30.5 in 2017, the ONS said.

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