Goals of the standard
To reduce unwarranted clinical variation in the prevention and investigation of stillbirth, and to reduce the number of women experiencing stillbirth, especially after 28 weeks gestation. This clinical care standard also aims to support best practice in bereavement care for parents (and their families and support people) following any perinatal loss, and in the care provided to women when planning for, and during, subsequent pregnancies.
This clinical care standard applies to the care provided to women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, from pre-conception to after a stillbirth occurs.
Elements of this clinical care standard that address bereavement care and care for future pregnancies apply to women (and their families and support people) who have experienced any form of perinatal loss, regardless of gestational age or the reasons for the loss.
What is not covered
This clinical care standard does not specifically address:
- Prevention or investigation of miscarriage
- Prevention of preterm birth
- Prevention or investigation related to terminations of pregnancy for medical reasons that occur before 20 weeks gestation
- Prevention or investigation of neonatal death.
However, the Commission acknowledges the tragedy of every perinatal loss, regardless of the nature of the loss or the gestational age at which the loss occurs. The Commission anticipates that care for women and families experiencing such losses may also be improved through implementation of the principles outlined in this clinical care standard.
This clinical care standard relates to care provided in the following care settings:
- Public hospital maternity and high-risk maternity care, including midwifery continuity of care
- Rural and remote area maternity care
- Private obstetric care
- Private midwifery care
- General practice, including care provided by GP obstetricians
- Other primary healthcare settings, such as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
- Community and home-based care.
Not all quality statements within this clinical care standard will be applicable to every healthcare service or clinical unit. Healthcare services should consider their individual circumstances in determining how to apply each statement.
Implementation should consider the context in which care is provided, and local variation and the quality improvement priorities of the individual healthcare service.