Infant deaths at record low in Scotland

STILLBIRTHS, perinatal deaths and infant deaths in Scotland are at their lowest ever recorded level, according to new statistics.

In 2012 the stillbirth rate in Scotland fell to 4.7 per 1000 births – the lowest in the UK - and infant death rates also fell from 4.0 per 1000 to 3.7 per 1000. Rates of neonatal and post-neonatal deaths have been in overall decline, with record low levels first seen in 2010.

There were also falls in the number of stillbirths and infant deaths among mothers living in deprived areas of the country, and in 2012 babies born to mothers over 40 had a higher chance of survival.

Public Health Minister, Michael Matheson, welcomed the findings from the Scottish Perinatal and Infant Mortality and Morbidity Report 2012 and said: "The death of even one baby is a tragedy for their family and so, while these figures are to be welcomed, there is no room for complacency in the fight to reduce the number of stillbirths and infant deaths. It is vital we continue to support women and mothers-to-be to make changes to their lifestyle, such as stopping smoking, eating healthily and remaining active.

"The Scottish Government introduced strict targets in 2012 for health boards that aim to increase the number of women accessing high quality antenatal care early on in their pregnancy. We have also invested in maternity champions across health boards and have been carrying out of a lot of work to raise awareness of the issues surrounding stillbirths among healthcare professionals."