- Up to 30 per cent of stillbirths considered preventable
- Safer Baby Bundle provides interventions and resources to reduce stillbirth rate
- Goal to reduce stillbirths by 20 per cent by 2023
Western Australia has joined a bold new initiative to tackle the nation's stillbirth rate.
The Safer Baby Bundle is a range of resources and interventions designed to reduce Australia's incidence of stillbirth, particularly among women from 28 weeks of gestation.
Across Australia an average of six infants are stillborn every day, creating heartache for more than 2,000 families a year.
Research suggests that almost a third of these deaths are preventable.
The Safer Baby Bundle has been developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth and is based on the latest clinical best-practice in stillbirth prevention from around the world.
The National Health and Medical Research Council-funded initiative covers five elements:
- Smoking cessation.
- Improved detection of restricted foetal growth.
- Improved awareness and management of decreased foetal movement.
- The importance of expectant mothers side sleeping from 28 weeks
- Improved decision making around timing of birth for those with risk factors for stillbirth.
A key aim of the bundle is to encourage healthcare providers to talk to patients about their risk of stillbirth and how their care throughout pregnancy can be personalised according to their risk.
The Safer Baby Bundle was developed in response to findings from the 2018 Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Stillbirths in Australia.
The inquiry found Australia lagged behind other high-income countries with its stillbirth rate (beyond 28 weeks of pregnancy) 35 per cent higher than the best-performing countries.
Australia is aiming for a 20 per cent reduction in stillbirth rates among women of 28 week's gestation by 2023.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"Stillbirth can be a devastating experience for families and have a lasting social, emotional and economic impact years after the birth.
"This important preventative health initiative progresses the response to the Senate Inquiry into Stillbirths and aligns with the Sustainable Health Review - a key priority of the Sustainable Health Review was driving cultural shift across health to see more focus on prevention.
"Western Australia has been at the forefront of reducing rates of pre-term birth through its Whole Nine Months initiative and is equally committed to measures that support the reduction of stillbirth.
"We encourage expectant parents and healthcare providers to follow the advice contained in the bundle to help save lives."
Minister's office - 6552 6500