One stillbirth occurs every 16 seconds. This means that every year, about 2 million babies are stillborn. This loss reaches far beyond the loss of life. The psychological costs, such as maternal depression, are profound, not to mention the financial consequences for parents and long-term economic repercussions for society.
Though the difficult impacts on families – and most especially on women – are severe and long lasting, stigma and taboo hide the hardship of stillbirths, even in high-income countries. But this traumatic loss of life remains a neglected issue.
Stillbirths are largely absent in worldwide data tracking, rendering the true extent of the problem hidden. They are invisible in policies and programmes and underfinanced as an area requiring intervention. Targets specific to stillbirths were absent from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and are still missing in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.