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Ten stillbirths in first five months this year

During the first five months of the year there were 10 stillbirths, an increase of three over the same period last year.

Health Minister Joseph Cassar told Anthony Agius Decelis (PL) that there were six stillbirths between January and May in 2009 and eight the previous year. Early neonatal deaths, when the baby dies within the first seven days of birth, decreased from nine in 2009 to seven in 2010 and four this year.

In 2008, the number was seven. Late neonatal deaths, where the baby dies between eight and 28 days, were a constant two for the past three years and one in 2008. Answering another question by the same MP, Dr Cassar said that 26 autopsies on babies were held since January, 2010.

It resulted that 17 or 65 per cent of the deaths occurred from intrauterine anoxia or lack of ­oxygen to the foetus – which is the most common in babies’ deaths.

The other nine cases, or 35 per cent, were the result of congenital anomalies.

To supplementary questions by Anthony Zammit (PL), the minister said that he would investigate how many of the mothers of the babies who died from lack of oxygen were smokers or drug abusers.

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