Stillbirth is the death of a baby before or during birth, born at 20 or more weeks of gestation, or at 400 grams or more birth weight. States and territories register a stillbirth after 20 weeks as a birth and issue a birth certificate.
Some of you will know that twenty-one years ago I gave birth to my daughter, Caroline, who was born still.
Since then, in over two decades, the rate of stillbirth in Australia has not changed despite all the other advances in maternal and foetal health.
Six babies a day are stillborn in Australia.
In those twenty years, some 44,000 babies, who were wanted and loved by their parents, were lost to us.
Quite tragically, they were lost to us in large part – a large number of them – because stillbirth has been considered a private tragedy rather than a public health problem. Stillbirth has long been a taboo topic, and the silence surrounding it has contributed to the lack of research, funding and education to reduce the rate of stillbirth in Australia.