Back 9 April 2014

Sharp Decline in Infant Mortality Continues

Over the past 10 years, infant mortality decreased by 28%. Most newborn deaths (68%) still occur at a very early stage, between the 22nd-27th week of pregnancy. The mortality rate of newborns after a full-term pregnancy (of at least 37 weeks), fell by more than 47% to 2 per 1000 babies. These numbers show that collaboration between midwives and gynaecologists in the reduction of newborn mortality pays off.

The new figures from the Netherlands Perinatal Registry (2012) show that the mortality rate in 2012, compared with more than ten years ago (2001), has decreased by 28%. From over 175,000 children born in 2012, 1,491 children were stillborn or deceased during the first four weeks of life. The highest mortality occurs in preterm infants, between the 22nd-27th week of pregnancy. This represents 68% of the total mortality (1,018 children). The mortality percentage of full-term babies from 37 weeks' gestation, has fallen since 2001 from 3.8 to 2.0 per 1000 babies - a decrease of 47%.

The Royal Dutch Organisation of Midwives (KNOV) sees decline as a sign of positive development. "This decrease is due to the Dutch obstetric system, which allows midwifery care - if possible and gynecologist care - if necessary. The freedom for pregnant women to opt for a home birth and a relatively low number of caesareans are things that we can be proud of", says Linda Rentes, chairman of the KNOV. "In addition, in recent years it has become good practice to discuss each mortality case between midwives, gynaecologists, and paediatricians to avoid all preventable mortality in the future." The Netherlands is doing better and better. 

Read the full study here (in Dutch).

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