Extra stillbirth support for families

Support: A new resource that aims to help families who have experienced stillbirth was launched this month.
Support: A new resource that aims to help families who have experienced stillbirth was launched this month.

A guide to support parents who tragically experience the death of their baby was launched this month (November 12).

Funded by donors to Stillbirth Foundation Australia, and developed in partnership with the Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth, the guide aims to help families with the difficult and heartbreaking journey.

Six children are stillborn in Australia every day.

The resource, Guiding Conversations, was developed through two grants received by Associate Professor Frances Boyle, Dr Julie Dean and others from The University of Queensland and Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth.

It is designed to add to the information and support parents receive from their health care team when a baby dies.

The resource aims to help parents to explore options, to think about what is most important to them, and to support decisions that are best for them and for their baby.

The guide has been put together in collaboration with clinicians as well as bereaved parents.

Stillbirth Foundation Australia chief executive Leigh Brezler says this will help guide families during a time of unimaginable grief.

"This parent version of the guidelines has been sensitively designed to help newly bereaved parents," Ms Brezler said.

"The shock and emotional distress can be overwhelming.

"Through this guide, we want to give these families the best possible information at the worst possible time."

She said funding research that can be translated into improved maternal care was vitally important and was only possible through the generosity of donors.

"It's crucial that we fund projects, like this parent guide, that are evidence-based and provide timely, useful information for bereaved families," she said.

From the first moment of a problem being identified through to finding support after leaving hospital, this document is designed to finally provide the comprehensive and consistent guidance that families desperately need,"Associate Professor Frances Boyle added.

The Sydney2CAMberra fundraiser also provided additional funding for design and distribution.

Sydney2CAMberra was established by Sutherland Shire resident Lee Heslehurst, whose former Menai High School friends Graham and Nadine Belfield lost their first son Cameron to stillbirth in 2011. Each year the charity raises money for Red Nose Australia and Stillbirth Foundation.

Riding together: Charity ride founder Lee Heslehurst (second from left) with Graham (far left) and Nadine Belfield (far right).

Riding together: Charity ride founder Lee Heslehurst (second from left) with Graham (far left) and Nadine Belfield (far right).