The NHS Long Term Plan identifies significant progress in maternity and neonatal care: Since 2010, the NHS has seen an 18.8% reduction in stillbirths, a 5.8% reduction in neonatal mortality and an 8% reduction in maternal mortality, which now occurs in fewer than 1 in 10,000 pregnancies.

However, there is still unwarranted variation in the outcomes of maternity and neonatal care due to health inequalities. For instance, MBRRACE-UK reports that outcomes are worse for Black, Asian and Mixed ethnic groups and people living in the most deprived areas.

Our programmes support the national ambition, set out in Better Births to reduce significant harms and rates of stillbirth, maternal mortality and preterm birth. They also recognise that to address the areas of greatest need here, we need to put special emphasis on identifying and developing innovations and improvements for groups that are currently experiencing undue variation in care quality.

Programmes and initiatives

Optimisation of preterm infants and recognising deterioration in women and babies

Together, we can reduce undue variation and rates of deaths, stillbirths and brain injuries – and provide a high quality healthcare experience for all women, babies, and families.

Photo showing soles of baby's feet under a blanket

Previous programmes

Prevention of cerebral palsy in pre-term labour

We worked with maternity hospitals in England to make MgSO4 available to mothers who go into labour at less than 30 weeks. It was the first perinatal quality improvement (QI) programme delivered at scale across the whole country, bringing together midwives, obstetricians and neonatologists.

Adult hands holding feet of baby