Stillbirth is a tragedy that strikes six Australian families every day.
Thursday2.00pm - 4.30pm
Stillbirth is a tragedy that strikes six Australian families every day. It is more common than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and despite advances in many areas of obstetric care, the rate of stillbirth has remained static over the past decade. Recurrent miscarriage (three or more miscarriages in a row) is also a devastating experience for couples. “In the past, there has been little recognition of the special needs of women carrying a pregnancy after previous loss,” says Dr Elizabeth McCarthy. “We now know that outcomes are optimised when these families receive multidisciplinary support in a subsequent pregnancy.”
For some women there may be clear treatable or "one-off" medical factors that contributed to their previous stillbirth or miscarriage. For others, there may information to indicate that a specific fetal or placental abnormality was responsible. However, for many women, the exact causes of their stillbirth or miscarriages remain unclear.
Mercy Perinatal recognises that women who have experienced the loss of a baby due to stillbirth or multiple miscarriages require specialist pre-pregnancy advice, investigation, and extra support during their next pregnancy. Investigations for possible causes of the prior losses, pregnancy planning, effective preventative treatments, and first trimester antenatal care is provided in this clinic, which includes fetal ultrasound and supportive counselling. Ongoing antenatal care after 14 weeks is usually arranged with the woman’s preferred maternity care team.
The Rainbow clinic also offers ongoing obstetric care for women whose unborn baby has been diagnosed with a severe life-limiting condition (e.g. anencephaly, or a lethal chromosome condition). Shared decision-making around birth and supportive paediatric care are discussed with the paediatric and obstetric teams, with pastoral care and social work support.
Women with recurrent miscarriage (3 consecutive miscarriages < 10 weeks gestation), a single late miscarriage (fetus with crown rump length > 30mm, or > 10 weeks gestation at the time of demise) or previous stillbirth. This clinic also accepts referrals of families where the fetus is known to have a life-limiting condition, and expectant care during pregnancy and palliative care of the newborn is being considered.