Sydney, Oct 30: First Nations women, as well as migrant and refugee women from communities disproportionately impacted by stillbirth, have played a pivotal role in co-designing culturally appropriate pregnancy resources.
The goal of these resources is to save the lives of babies within their own communities. Stillbirth rates in Australia remain tragically high, with an average of six babies born every day.
To combat this issue, a suite of carefully crafted, in-language resources named ‘Stronger Bubba Born’ and ‘Growing a Healthy Baby’ has been developed based on the evidence-based Safer Baby Bundle. These resources aim to enhance maternity care for these communities and contribute to reducing stillbirth rates in Australia by 20 percent.
It is estimated that between 20 and 30 percent of late gestation stillbirths can be prevented with improved care.
However, systemic healthcare barriers often hinder crucial discussions about stillbirth prevention.
To address this, the development of these new resources involved extensive community consultation and input from health educators.
This ensured that the information and illustrations were culturally appropriate and can help alleviate the devastating impact of stillbirth on these communities.
This crucial initiative, an extension of the Safer Baby Bundle created by the Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence (Stillbirth CRE), is the result of two years of consultation and development.
For First Nations women and their families aiming to reduce the risk of stillbirth, the new Stronger Bubba Born resources include flyers and videos.
These resources are available on the Stronger Bubba Born website. The Indigenous research team at Stillbirth CRE, in collaboration with the Indigenous Advisory Group, developed these resources. Delivery partner Curtin University supported the extensive consultation and co-design process.
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Wellbeing Aboriginal Corporation are also key collaborators in this Indigenous work.
Additionally, communities that speak Arabic, Dari, Dinka, and Karen now have access to vital tailored information in the form of written booklets, summary videos, and self-paced digital booklets with audio. These resources are available on the Growing a Healthy Baby website.
A network of community groups and health educators from the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) and the Stronger Futures CRE at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) worked alongside the Stillbirth CRE to develop these in-language resources.
The new resources cover five key areas, mirroring those in the Safer Baby Bundle:
- Supporting women to stop smoking during pregnancy and reduce their exposure to smoke.
- Enhancing the detection and management of fetal growth restriction.
- Raising awareness and improving care for women with decreased fetal movements.
- Providing education on the importance of sleeping on your side from 28 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the risk of stillbirth.
- Improving decision-making about the timing of birth for women with risk factors for stillbirth.
Professor Vicki Flenady, Director of the Mater Research-based Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence, emphasized that stillbirth rates are significantly higher among First Nations and some migrant and refugee communities compared to the general population.
Addressing this issue requires providing care and resources tailored to their needs.
The Safer Baby Bundle, an evidence-based initiative designed to improve maternity care and reduce stillbirth rates, has already yielded positive results in Victoria.
The culturally sensitive resources co-designed with these communities will be instrumental in reducing stillbirth rates among women at the highest risk.
Deanna Stuart-Butler, Senior Advisor of Indigenous Research at Stillbirth CRE, highlighted that two years of consultation across Australia went into ensuring evidence-based practices were implemented in First Nations communities according to their own ways of “knowing, being, and doing.”
These resources present the clinical information in a manner that communities can understand and relate to, catering to cultural considerations.
Dr. Nisha Khot, board member of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, emphasized the importance of these resources for migrant communities.
These resources explain the reasons for routine pregnancy care, addressing the misconception that bad outcomes cannot be prevented.
They empower women to take preventive steps and improve the communication between healthcare professionals and the community.
Dr. Fatima El-Assaad, who experienced a stillbirth in 2021, stressed that GPs and midwives could use these resources to initiate conversations about stillbirth with women.
These resources are particularly critical for communities with high stillbirth rates, including migrant, refugee, and First Nations communities.
The cultural adaptation of the Safer Baby Bundle has been funded by the Australian Government.
These new resources are available at:
- Stronger Bubba Born website (for First Nations communities)
- Growing a Healthy Baby website (for Arabic, Dari, Dinka, and Karen-speaking communities)
In addition, this information has been translated into 25 languages and is available on the CRE’s Safer Baby website along with all resources for healthcare professionals at learn.stillbirthcre.org.au/.
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