A program coming out of Victoria shows promising results in reducing the number of stillborn deaths.


For the first time in two decades, Victoria has seen a marked decline in stillbirths. Some Victorian maternity services have introduced the Safer Baby Bundle, which has led to a 21 per cent decline in stillbirths between 2019 and 2021. Key points:

The Safer Baby Bundle focuses on five areas that have been shown to reduce the risk of stillbirth.

Over the past three years, the program was introduced to 15 maternity services across Victoria, saving at least 20 babies' lives.

By early 2022, the program will be operating in all states and territories across Australia.

In December 2020, the Commonwealth Government introduced Australia's first National Stillbirth Action and Implementation Plan, which aims to reduce the number of stillbirths after 28 weeks by 20 per cent by 2025. The plan found sub-standard care was contributing to up to half of all stillbirths, with 20 to 30 per cent of deaths considered preventable. Experts believe the dramatic drop in deaths was driven by:

A 200 per cent increase in the number of women who quit smoking during pregnancy.

Improved screening for poorly growing babies.

More expectant mothers are being informed about changed baby movements.

Better education around the importance of side-sleeping for women in their third trimester.

Shared decision-making with women around the timing of birth.

Every year more than 2,000 Australian babies are stillborn — that is almost double the national road toll. After decades of seeing little improvement in stillbirth prevention, the past few years of investment and support is beginning to pay off. 


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