NSW joins national push to reduce stillbirths

Minister Bronnie Taylor comforts consumer representative Ann-Marie Imrie, who bravely spoke about the loss of her baby due to still birth. Background: Clinical Excellence Commission senior clinical advisor A/Prof Michael Nicholl.

NSW has joined a national push to drive down the number of stillbirths that stands at six babies lost across Australia every day.

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor welcomed the work to reduce the devastating impact of stillbirth on families at the launch of the NSW Safer Baby Program at a Clinical Excellence Commission workshop at Westmead Hospital today.

“Families are forever affected by the grief of stillbirth. That’s why it is so important that events like today’s workshop at Westmead Hospital highlight the recommended practices in the NSW Safer Baby Program,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We know stopping smoking in pregnancy, awareness and management of decreased fetal movement, maternal side sleeping,  detecting and  managing fetal growth restriction, and carefully timing birth for women with risk factors is crucial to reducing stillbirth.”

The Safer Baby Program is part of a national collaboration with the Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence, NSW Health, the Clinical Excellence Commission and partners across Queensland and Victoria.

WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy, CEC chief executive Carrie Marr, Blacktown Hospital director of nursing and midwifery Danielle Levis, Minister for Mental Health and Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor, Westmead Hospital director of nursing and midwifery Kate Hackett, WSLHD Nursing and Midwifery and Clinical Governance director Carol Farmer, Westmead Hospital Aboriginal liaison officer Narelle Holden, Westmead Hospital Women’s and Newborn Health operations director Donna Garland and CEC senior clinical advisor A/Prof Michael Nicholl.

NSW Health Senior Clinical Advisor Obstetrics, Prof Michael Nicholl said NSW hospitals are committed to reducing stillbirths in line with international improvements.

“In NSW for every 1000 babies born six will be stillborn, affecting around 12 families each week. We’re focusing on supporting the national goal to reduce preventable stillbirth right across the state,” Prof Nicholl said.

Western Sydney, South Western Sydney, Hunter New England and Central Coast Local Health Districts have joined as national research partners to reduce stillbirth as they are geographically diverse and have some of the busiest maternity departments in NSW.

The NSW Government’s $157 million parenting package delivers more midwives and family health nurses across the state, investment in testing and treatments for children’s diseases, and practical and emotional support to parents.

Online resources from the NSW Safer Baby Program are available here.