Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos on June 12 launched the Safer Baby Collaborative to reduce the rate of stillbirths in Victoria.

“Losing a baby to stillbirth is such a heartbreaking and traumatic time for too many hopeful parents,” Minister Jenny Mikakos said.

This ground-breaking new program sets an ambitious goal of 20 per cent reduction of stillbirths rate by 2022.

Around 500 babies are stillborn every year in Victoria – a rate which has been largely unchanged in the past 20 years, but still, community awareness of stillbirth risk factors remains low.

“Equally tragic is that our stillbirth rate has remained the same for the past two decades. We must do things differently to prevent stillbirths and save lives,” Minister Mikakos said.

And while it is not known why some babies are stillborn, there are some ways that can be done to prevent it.

“When we’re all working together – we can help prevent stillbirths,” Mikakos said.

Partnering with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Safer Care Victoria’s Safer Baby Collaborative will provide support and resources to 20 participating maternity services targeting preventable stillbirths from five different angles.

This includes:

  • increasing public awareness of the importance of fetal movements
  • improving diagnosis and management of fetal growth restriction
  • improving rates of smoking cessation in pregnancy
  • raising awareness of safe maternal sleep positions
  • promoting appropriate timing of birth and mitigating unintended consequences or harm.

The Safer Baby Collaborative builds on Safer Care Victoria’s Movements Matter campaign launched last October that encourages pregnant women to get to know how their baby’s movements, and to immediately speak up if they notice any change.

The social media campaign reached 620,000 people and aimed to dispel common myths for expectant mothers and the doctors, midwives and other people who care for them.

Meanwhile, Safer Care Victoria has run 23 workshops in the past year for more than 700 clinicians to help improve antenatal detection and management of fetal growth restriction.

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