At term (over 37 weeks) the researchers found that indigenous women had an increased risk of stillbirth due to maternal conditions and perinatal infection. For example, indigenous women had a six-fold increased risk of stillbirth due to diabetes, a three-fold increased risk of stillbirth due to spontaneous preterm birth and an increased risk of stillbirth due to hypertension, fetal growth restriction and antepartum haemorrhage.
Ibinabo Ibiebele, is the co-author of the study and a PhD student working with the Mater Research Institute and the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. She said:
"This study shows that the gap in stillbirth rates is narrowing between indigenous and non-indigenous women except at term where we identified a number of preventable conditions such as diabetes, infection and fetal growth restriction.
"With the appropriate help and interventions there is an opportunity to further reduce the number of term stillbirths among indigenous women.
"It is vital that there is high quality antenatal care at all levels available for indigenous women which is culturally sensitive and incorporates diabetes management, smoking cessation, STI screening and folic acid supplementation to improve pregnancy outcomes."
John Thorp, BJOG deputy editor-in-chief said:
"This is a very interesting study as it looks at a large number of women over a long time period.
"Stillbirth is devastating for families and it is encouraging to see the gap in rates is closing between indigenous and non-indigenous women. This study fu
|Contact: Nicole Weingartner|