A package of education and awareness measures designed to reduce rates of stillbirth will soon be available for health professionals and pregnant women across Australia.
Hospitals in selected areas will receive the ‘Safer Baby Bundle’, developed principally by the Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Stillbirth at the University of Queensland.
The national rollout of the bundle is assisted by $3 million from the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund to help transition maternity care into routine clinical practice.
This builds on a $1.3 million National Health and Medical Research Council grant to the CRE earlier this year, which funded trials in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
Six babies are lost to stillbirth every day, while rates of stillbirth in Australia have not dropped for two decades.
The Safer Baby Bundle provides evidence based recommendations in the key risk areas of detection and management of impaired foetal growth, awareness and management of decreased foetal movement, advising women on safe sleeping positions, supporting women to stop smoking, and better timing of birth for women with risk factors.
The bundle is based on a similar initiative in the UK, which reportedly has been effective in reducing stillbirth rates.
Funding for national implementation of the Safer Baby Bundle forms part of the government’s response to the 2018 Senate inquiry into stillbirths.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says the government has agreed to the inquiry’s recommendations and supports a bipartisan approach to a difficult issue.