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A consortium of established Australian organisations with expertise and experience in stillbirth has come together to launch Still Six Lives. This consists of the charities Red Nose (including Sands) and the Stillbirth Foundation, as well as the Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence.
This public awareness campaign received funding from the Australian Government.
Red Nose, Stillbirth Foundation, SANDS and Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence have joined forces to deliver this campaign to provide information to all Australians to help reduce the rate of stillbirth. All of the involved organisations have long histories in stillbirth prevention and bereavement support following pregnancy and infant loss.
Still Six Lives aims to help reduce the risk of stillbirth through education of three key actions, dispel the sense of shame that surrounds stillbirth and break down social barriers that prevent parents of stillborn children receiving the love and support they need. Every family we can support, and every stillbirth we can help try to avoid, are our driving goals.
The rate of stillbirth in Australia is 6.7 stillbirths for every 1,000 births. This equals around 2,200 babies who are stillborn every year, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). That’s six stillbirths every day or one every four hours. It can happen to anyone, and while stillbirths can’t always be prevented, there are ways to reduce risk of it happening.
Australia is a relatively safe place to give birth compared to many places around the world. But many other developed countries have reduced their rates of stillbirth over the past 20 years, whilst the rate has remained relatively unchanged in Australia. Despite research pointing to steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of stillbirth, the rate has remained stubbornly high. Many women are unaware that they can make some simple changes to support a safer pregnancy.
Not every stillbirth is preventable and we still do not understand all the reasons for stillbirth. Sadly, there are many bereaved parents who do not know what led to the death of their baby. However there are some simple things that can be done to reduce the risk of stillbirth.
Stillbirth is real and can happen to anyone, but there are three simple steps which can reduce the risk of a baby being stillborn:
- Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
- If you feel your baby’s movements change, contact your maternity care professional immediately
- Sleep on your side after 28 weeks.
Smoking during pregnancy is a major contributor to stillbirth. Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke by encouraging others not to smoke around you.
Feeling your baby move is important If you feel a decrease in movement or if movements change, it could be a sign that your baby is unwell. Contact your maternity care professional immediately. Don’t believe the myths – babies do not stop moving towards the end of pregnancy.
Go to sleep on your side after 28 weeks to halve your risk of stillbirth compared to sleeping on your back. If you wake up and find yourself on your back, don’t worry, just move back on to your side when you go to sleep again.
The community of people around pregnant women – partners, friends, family – are key to encouraging conversation and helping to reduce the stigma attached to stillbirth. It is not something to be ashamed of; it can happen to anyone. There are also practical behaviours to adopt, like making sure not to smoke around pregnant women.