Despite decreases in the rates of both neonatal death and SIDS, the rate of stillbirth has remained largely unchanged in Australia for well over a decade. One group of women who have a much higher rate of stillbirth than other women giving birth in Australia are south Asian born women. Previous work from our investigators have shown that not only is the rate of stillbirth at the end of pregnancy significantly higher in South Asian women (i.e. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh) than Australian-born women, the rate also increases earlier in pregnancy and more rapidly. This difference appears to be due to “accelerated placental ageing” in south Asian born women such that South Asian born women have shorter pregnancies and are more likely to have signs of fetal compromise at the end of pregnancy. Most maternity hospitals offer induction of labour or fetal surveillance for women whose pregnancy extends beyond 41 weeks. This is to reduce the risk of stillbirth. However, this may be too late for South Asian women.
This project aims to assess the impact of a new clinical guideline of surveillance or induction of labour for South Asian women at 39 weeks.