Stillbirth a Higher Risk for New Australians

It appears we might still be failing some of our poorer migrant women, with new study finding that they have higher rates of stillbirth compared to Australian-born mothers.

Analysing data from stillbirths that occurred in Western Australia over the period 2005 to 2013, researchers found that while stillbirth rates overall were low and often much lower than in these migrant women’s country of birth, they were higher in non-Australian born women, especially in those women who were born in Africa.

Published recently in The Medical Journal of Australia, the study also took note of whether the deaths occurred in the antepartum period (between 20 weeks gestation up to before labour commences) or the intrapartum period (which is the period after labour has started), in an attempt to determine when and in whom intervention might be warranted.

Researchers found the key factor was the woman’s country of birth rather than her ethnic origin, as there appeared no difference in stillbirth rates among white and non-white Australian-born women.

However, women born in Africa were twice as likely to have a stillbirth in the weeks before going into labour compared with Australian-born women. And Indian-born women were 70% more likely. Migrant women born in other countries collectively had an increased risk of about 40% of an antepartum stillbirth.

And frighteningly, it appeared the rates of stillbirth occurring once labour ...

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