27 September 2023

New plan to deliver safer births

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Canberra Health Services (CHS) has launched a new initiative aimed at reducing the number of premature births in the ACT.

The Whole Nine Months has been developed in partnership with the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance, which includes clinical leaders, Health Departments and communities from around the country.

In a statement, CHS said the initiative in the ACT had been supported by the Liangis family to employ a midwife and to set up a preterm birth prevention clinic to support women identified as at risk of giving birth prematurely.

Other key components of the project include new clinical guidelines, an outreach program for health care practitioners and a public health program for women and their families.

Clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at CHS, Boon Lim said the initiative was vital, as pre-term birth was the leading cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity worldwide.

He said seven per cent of births at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children in 2018 were pre-term.

“Pre-term birth can carry major risks for both the child and the mother,” Associate Professor Lim said.

“While most children born early may go on to lead a normal and productive life, unfortunately many will be left with life-long disability.”

He said the National Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance and the ACT initiative built on a Western Australian research program which had significantly reduced the rate of pre-term births across that State since its launch in 2014.

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