Midwives needed to reduce stillbirths in deprived areas, Royal College of Midwives says

The Royal College of Midwives wants Government to recruit more NHS midwives. Credit: David Jones / PA Wire/PA Images

A recruitment drive for more midwives could help prevent the number of stillbirths in deprived areas, The Royal College of Midwives has said.

One in every 200 babies is stillborn in the UK and there is around a 25% variation in stillbirth rates across England, according to NHS figures.

New research, published in UK medical journal The Lancet, has found maternal and child deaths around the world could be significantly reduced by investing in essential health services.

Louise Silverton, director of Midwifery at The Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the study and called on the Government to recruit more NHS midwives.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We are determined to make the NHS the safest place in the world to have a baby and since 2010 we have over 2,400 more midwives and 6,000 in training.

"We're committed to halving the number of stillbirths by 2030 - we're investing in improved training for staff, new safety equipment and improved processes so hospitals review and learn from every stillbirth."

In 2015, nearly six million children under the age of five died, as did more than 300,000 women from pregnancy-related causes, around the world.

At a cost of around £3.50 per person on services including contraception, treatment for infectious diseases and nutritional supplements, four million lives could be saved every year globally, according to the report led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in America.