Reducing preterm births and stillbirths

Reducing preterm births and stillbirths

Reducing preterm births and stillbirths

#GS-02 Healthcare

For Prelims

Levels and Trends in Child Mortality Report

  • Published by the United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME).

What does the report say

  • Under-five mortality globally is about five million which means five million children died before their fifth birthday.
  • Of this, neonatal deaths i.e., death in the first month of life, was about 2.3 million.
  • Under-five mortality in India stood at 7,09,366, while neonatal deaths were about 4,41,801.

Sample Registration System (SRS)

  • Sample Registration System was started by Government of India under Registrar General of India, in the later half of 1960s.
  • Its aim is to provide reliable estimates of birth and death rates for the States and also at All India level.

What does the report say

  • Inter-State variations in child mortality in India is huge, for example infant mortality rate in Madhya Pradesh was six times that in Kerala.


For Mains

The cause of High Child Mortality

  • The child deaths are mainly caused by two neglected challenges. Which are;
Preterm births
  • Preterm birth means children who are born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed.
  • Preterm babies are two to four times more likely to die after birth in comparison to those born after 37 weeks of gestation.
  • The global average for preterm births is one in every 10 births.
  • In India however, one in every six to seven births is preterm.
  • Which makes the newborns in the country have a greater risk of complications and mortality.
  • As per statistics, preterm births contribute to one in every six under-five child deaths.
  • A baby who dies any time after 22 weeks of pregnancy, but before or during the birth, will be termed as a stillborn.
  • An estimated 1.9 million stillbirths happened globally in 2021.
  • The absolute number of estimated stillbirths in India (2,86,482) was greater than the death amongst children in 1-59 months of age (2,67,565) in 2021.

What can be done

The following steps can reduce the risk of preterm births and still births;

  • Increasing access to family planning services;
  • Improving antepartum services such as health and nutrition, including the intake of iron folic acid by pregnant mothers, providing counselling on the importance of a healthy diet, and optimal nutrition;
  • Identification and management of risk factors.
  • Prevent, detect early and manage diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and infections which put mothers at high risk.