As many as six babies are stillborn each day in Australia. In NSW the risk of stillbirth was 5.8 per 1000 births in 2015 and 2016. This risk has remained relatively unchanged in over a decade.
Reducing stillbirth in Australia
The Australian Senate Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education tabled its recommendations in Parliament in December 2018. The Australian Government responded to the Report with an investment of $7.2 million in initiatives designed to reduce stillbirths.
The Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth
The Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth(Stillbirth CRE) is leading the work to reduce the risk of stillbirth and improve care and outcomes for women and families in Australia.
The Stillbirth CRE is leading the development of the 'Safer baby' program designed to reduce the risk of stillbirth in Australia by 20% by 2023. This work is being done in partnership with NSW Health and all other states and territories.
The Safer Baby program has five evidence based elements for implementation across maternity services:
Each element will include resources for women and their care providers to promote best practice care. The resources specifically developed for NSW Health which are already available for clinicians are listed below. Additional resources will be available soon.
Side sleeping position
Research shows that the risk of stillbirth can be halved for pregnant women who sleep on their side from 28 weeks gestation.
NSW Health funded the Stillbirth Foundation Australia to develop a suite of resources to enhance their stillbirth prevention campaign. The resources include posters and flyers. The posters should be displayed in maternity services and the flyers should be distributed to women who are nearing 28 weeks of pregnancy.
These resources can be ordered from Stream Solutions Website
A 'Fact Sheet' (Maternal sleep position in late pregnancy: Information for maternity clinicians) has been compiled to assist clinicians understand the evidence underpinning the recommendation for pregnant women to sleep on their side from 28 weeks gestation.