The most recent AIHW Mother's and Baby's Report shows once again that the stillbirth rate has not changed. Currently 1 baby is stillborn in every 134 births. This means that over 2000 babies are stillborn every year in Australia. This does not take into account the current "baby boom" and the confronting truth that more babies will die if we don't find out why.
The Stillbirth Foundation Australia is concerned about this consistent trend and believes that whilst we live in an age of enormous technical and medical advances, that an investment in stillbirth research will enable lives to be saved.
Emma McLeod, Founder of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia, believes that we are in a prime position to uncover the mysteries of stillbirth. Already, Stillbirth Foundation Australia funded research has revealed that obesity, advanced maternal age (over 35 years) and smoking are risk factors for stillbirth. We have supported research which has shown that if the PSANZ Perinatal Guidelines are used by hospitals a greater understanding of the cause of each stillbirth is achieved.
Additionally, research we have funded has shown that viruses are present in stillborn baby's tissues (thus crossing the placenta which has previously been viewed as protective) and we continue to provide funds in this area to further undersatnd if the virus caused the baby's death.
These amazing and fruitful findings have been from our initial research spend as at the end of 2008 of just $300,000 - imagine the results we can make from an even greater investment!
It is time that we as a community and our Federal Government recognise that many of the babies who are dying could be saved. More research into stillbirth is urgently needed. By providing an allocation of funds for research into stillbirth as part of hte next budget, the Goverment will be in the position to empower doctors, midwives and parents with the knowledge to prevent these deaths.