There has been a significant drop in the number of stillborn babies, an independent report has shown.
The charity Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health found that there were 5.4 stillborn babies per 1,000 live births in 2000, the rate rising for several years to 5.7, before falling to 5.2 in 2007.
The number of babies who die in their first month is also at it lowest in nine years. There is good news also for multiple births, the rate of stillbirths per thousand babies falling from 16.7 in 2000 to 12.2 in 2007.
The charity is now calling for better monitoring during antenatal care, more midwives and more research into stillbirth and neonatal deaths.
“For the best outcomes, women should access maternity services at an early stage. We say that all women should have their personal needs and risks assessed by a healthcare professional by the 12th week of pregnancy,” said Health Minister Ann Keen.