Action on Pre-eclampsia has welcomed the record fall in the death rate from Pre-eclampsia to less than 1 in a million pregnancies in the United Kingdom according to the “Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care” MBRRACE-UK report released today.

The report highlights a major success for maternity care in the UK. Between 2012-14, less than one in every million women giving birth died from pre-eclampsia and related conditions, equating to one woman every 18 months across the UK. When the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths began in the UK sixty years ago, the figure would have been nearer to 150 women.

Globally, pre-eclampsia is still a major killer of pregnant women, with 20,000 women dying worldwide over the same time period as one woman dying in the UK. This shows the benefit of translating research into clinical practice and providing high quality care to women.

Marcus Green Chief Executive of Action on Pre-eclampsia said “We welcome this report as it shows it is now extraordinarily rare for a woman to die of pre-eclampsia in the United Kingdom and this is down to solid research, good clinical practice and the exceptional level of care given to women in this country.

“We know however that the numbers of women getting pre-eclampsia is not declining and it is still a major cause of premature death of babies with many hundreds of babies dying every year in the UK.

“We are also very aware that just because women are not dying, it does not mean the condition is eradicated, it is still dangerous and there is some evidence of long term health risks for mothers and their babies.”

“Each year Action on Pre-eclampsia supports many hundreds of families who need our support around their pregnancy and we will continue to do so.”

Professor Andrew Shennan, Chair of Trustees of Action On Pre-Eclampsia and Professor of Obstetrics at Kings College London commented “The best way to reduce the risk from pre-eclampsia is for every pregnant woman to attend all their anti-natal appointments and at every appointment they should get their blood pressure monitored and their urine tested for protein.

“These are the fundamentals of good care and women should feel able to speak to their midwife or doctor if these basic checks do not take place.

“Pre-eclampsia remains a significant global killer. Every day 100 women die worldwide and we have not got a cure yet despite decades of research, we need to spread the message that good care makes a huge difference.”

Professor Jenny Kurinczuk, who leads the MBRRACE-UK collaboration, noted: “It is extremely good news that so few women are dying from pre-eclampsia and related complications, and is evidence of the excellent care our maternity services provide. However, it is important to remember that we are not yet so successful in preventing other complications of pre-eclampsia, and, in particular, deaths of babies whose mothers have the condition.”