Australian stillbirth rates: Why higher than elsewhere?

With 2.7 stillbirths per 1,000 births, Australia is 15th in world rankings. That rate, while relatively good, is higher than in New Zealand (2.3) and notably higher than Iceland, Denmark and Finland (less than 1.8).

Writing today in The Conversation, Sasha Petrova outlines recent research published in the Lancet medical journal.  The research showed while stillbirth rates have fallen marginally since 2000, these are failing to keep pace with falls in childhood and maternal mortality rates.

In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Obstetricians has in the past commented:

In the UK stillbirth rates are still high and as a College we are committed to addressing this. We plan to start a project particularly studying term intrapartum deaths, early neonatal deaths in term infants and we will also examine the circumstances of those babies who subsequently develop long term problems such as cerebral palsy. The aim of this project is to study potential lessons to be learned surrounding the management of labour and delivery of these babies and ultimately aim to reduce these events.

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