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Media Release: Safer Baby Bundle Aims to Reduce the Rate of Stillbirth in ACT

December 3, 2020

Safer Baby Bundle Aims to Reduce the Rate of Stillbirth in ACT Hospitals across Canberra will today begin implementing a new program designed to significantly reduce the rate of preventable stillbirths.

The Safer Baby Bundle is a package of resources and interventions for maternity health professionals designed to reduce the ACT’s incidence of late-gestation stillbirth (after 28 weeks) by 20% by 2023.

Across Australia, on average six babies are stillborn every day, a statistic that has changed little in the past two decades. This is despite research indicating up to 30 per cent of stillbirths could be avoided with better care.

Developed by the NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth (Stillbirth CRE), the Safer Baby Bundle offers health providers evidence-based training and support to keep more women and their babies safe through pregnancy.

The Safer Baby Bundle covers five elements to reduce the rate of stillbirth from 28 weeks:

  1. Supporting women to stop smoking in pregnancy.
  2. Improving detection and management of fetal growth restriction.
  3. Raising awareness and improving care for women with decreased fetal movements.
  4. Improving awareness of going to sleep on either side from 28 weeks; and
  5. Improving shared decision-making around timing of birth for women with risk factors for stillbirth.

For each of these target areas, maternity services will implement new or updated care pathways, best practice recommendations, evaluation strategies, and both face-to-face and eLearning educational modules.
Stillbirth CRE Co-Director Professor David Ellwood said the launch of the Safer Baby Bundle in the ACT was an important step forward towards the national adoption of stillbirth preventative care.

“The ACT joins Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia in rolling out this life-saving intervention to reduce the rate of stillbirth in Australia,” Professor Ellwood said.

“In line with the draft National Stillbirth Action and Implementation Plan, this is a step forward towards ensuring clinicians, regardless of where they work, can have the latest, best-practice evidence at hand.”

Stillbirth CRE Safer Baby Bundle national coordinator Dr Christine Andrews said early success from other jurisdictions highlighted how the interventions outlined in the Safer Baby Bundle could spare families the devastation of losing a baby.

“Data published in the Safer Care Victoria annual report shows that following the launch of the Victorian Government’s Safer Baby Collaborative, between June 2019 and March 2020 there was a 27 per cent reduction in stillbirths,” Dr Andrews said. “This equates to 13 babies’ lives being saved.”

ACT Safer Baby Bundle Implementation Group Chair, Associate Professor Boon Lim, said the Safer Baby Bundle brought further evidence-based strategies to clinical care in the ACT.

“Importantly, the program nurtures a partnership with clinicians and mothers-to-be as part, of a comprehensive way to monitor and improve maternity care, based on information at hand during a pregnancy,” he said.


ENDS

Media Contact

Margaret de Silva
Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth
+61 7 3163 6326 | stillbirthcre@mater.uq.edu.au

For more information on the Safer Baby Bundle, visit http://learn.stillbirthcre.org.au


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