Baby deaths increase.
The overall perinatal mortality rate - stillbirths and deaths in the first week of life - fell in England and Wales in 2004 to 8.2 deaths per 1,000 births compared with 8.5 in 2003.
But the fall was confined to women aged 25 to 34, with the largest drop of 11% seen in the 25-29 age group from 8.4 to 7.5 per 1,000 births.
In mothers under 20, the rate increased from 10.5 to 11.2 deaths per 1,000 births. The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also showed that infant mortality, deaths in babies less than a year old, were higher in children born outside marriage.
Among all those born outside marriage, the infant mortality rate was 5.6 per 1,000 births, compared with a rate of 4.4 inside marriage.
Overall, the perinatal mortality rate was highest in women who had babies over the age of 40, at 12.1 per 1,000 births compared with the overall rate of 8.2.
The figures found that 49% of infant deaths occurred in babies with very low birth weights.
They also showed that babies of mothers born in Pakistan, the Caribbean and parts of Africa had particularly high infant mortality rates, between 8.5 and 8.9 per 1,000 births