Core Outcomes in Stillbirth (COSTIL) Project

We are the COSTIL (Core Outcomes in Stillbirth) project team based at the University of Adelaide.

The team is comprised of Prof. Ben Mol, principle investigator (back), and Miss Bobae Kim, (second from left), Assoc. Prof. Edoardo Aromataris, (far right), Assoc. Prof. Philipa Middleton (far left) and Dr. Suzette Coat (second from right).

The project aim is to develop a standardised common outcome set that can be implemented across all clinical research in the field of prevention of stillbirth so that every study conducted can be easily compared and combined for better effective use. We use a two-stage approach to develop outcomes that reflect the priorities of all stakeholders. This encompasses previous literature through a systematic review, a focus group and interviews of parents who have experienced stillbirth, and a Delphi method that will combine and generate a consensus of opinions between experts in the field. Later this year, we will be recruiting the parent members of the Stillbirth Foundation for participation in our research. We will be asking them to share their views on what they consider important outcomes from their experiences.

This strategy will allow the many individual trials, reviews and guidelines in stillbirth to be effectively combined and compared, resulting in a significant contribution to future stillbirth mitigation. We expect this research will have collaboration synergies with a team of researchers in UK funded by Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity, SNDS with whom we are working closely. We are grateful for the ongoing support of COSTIL from the Stillbirth Foundation Australia.

We look forward to continuous collaboration to reduce the incidence of stillbirth.

TAKE THE PwC CHALLENGE: Innovation Community urged to find Stillbirth Breakthrough

Six babies are stillborn every day in Australia and one of the major issues associated with many of these tragedies is reduced foetal movement during pregnancy.

As a result, Stillbirth Foundation Australia has teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’s Open Innovation Platform to encourage researchers to develop a tool to monitor foetal movements.

The Foundation is urging innovators, entrepreneurs and the general community to take up the challenge and develop a tool to take to market, which could help drive down the stillbirth rate.

“Stillbirth takes the lives of six children a day in Australia, and more can and must be done to drive this down, including research and education,” said Foundation General Manager, Victoria Bowring.

“No tool ever could or ever should replace the role of doctors, but tools could be developed that can help doctors to make a better diagnosis of potential issues.

“While periodic checks of foetal movements occur during pregnancy, clinicians are reliant on the mother’s account of events between checks, and there is currently no way of measuring this activity over an extended period of time.

“The weakness of this approach is that reporting by mothers may not always be highly accurate in terms of exact foetal movement frequency and how this has changed over time.

“If we are able to accurately and easily monitor baby movements over longer periods we will be in a better position to determine the health of the unborn baby and ensure that it arrives safely.”

The successful applicant will be supported by the Foundation, PwC Health Consulting and PwC Open Innovation teams throughout a twelve week project accelerator.

During this period, they will be provided with access to experts in stillbirth, obstetrics, biomedical engineering, digital start-ups and the health and life sciences sectors.

“The Innovation Platform presents an outstanding opportunity for an enterprising researcher or entrepreneur to work with experts and develop a solution to this serious problem,” said Bowring.

“Successful applicants will also be provided with the opportunity to work with mothers, expectant parents and health service providers.”

After the accelerator is complete, successful Applicant/s may have an opportunity to take their solution forward as a joint venture with the Foundation and other contributors.

Additionally, the Foundation has pledged up to $20,000 to support the successful applicants.

Allocation of the funding will be determined based on the number of winning parties or solutions.

To find out more about the PwC Open Innovation Platform and how you can get involved visit: https://openinnovation.com.au/innovation/problem/stillbirth-foundation-australia-stillbirth-prevention

 

Almost all research into stillbirth is directed through Stillbirth Foundation Australia from people who have experienced its devastating loss. In the past seven years we have invested $1 million dollars into successful projects such as iSAIL at the RPA Hospital. The Foundation is now calling for more government and corporate investment so we can fund more research into prevention, and more campaigns to let parents of unborn babies know what they can do to reduce the risk. To donate, go to https://stillbirthfoundation.org.au/donate/

 

Media contact: Nick Trainor 0407 078 138

 

Maternal ethnicity and disparities in stillbirth

There is evidence to suggest that maternal ethnicity is a risk factor for stillbirth, although the reasons for this are unclear. A better understanding of the increased risk amongst women born overseas would be expected to not only improve outcomes for those women in the future but may also identify mechanisms of stillbirth that might apply to all women, irrespective of where they were born.

This projects aims to address these possibilities by examining whether maternal country of birth is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth in pregnancy among women giving birth in Victoria.

Amount granted: $31,516

Research institution: The Ritchie, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Monash University, Melbourne

Chief Investigator:  Dr Miranda Davies-Tuck

Other Investigators:  Professor Euan Wallace

My Baby’s Movements: a mobile phone tool to reduce stillbirth

In the days before a late term stillbirth occurs, a baby’s movements inside the womb may decrease. However, pregnant women and their families currently receive inadequate information about the importance of their baby’s movements as an indicator of their baby’s health, and may delay reporting decreased fetal movement to their doctor or care providers.

This team of researchers aim to develop a mobile phone App called “My Baby’s Movements” to address this problem. The aim of the tool is to provide quality information about fetal movements to pregnant women and their families, and to encourage early reporting in case a decrease in movement occurs. This project is funding the pilot testing of the above mentioned phone App.

Amount granted:  $33,658.30

Research institution: Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine, Mater Mothers’ Hospital, Brisbane

Chief Investigator: Dr Glenn Gardener

Other investigators:  Associate Professor Vicki Flenady, Professor David Ellwood, Ms Allena Wojcieszek, Associate Professor Fran Boyle, Dr Susan Vlack

 

Is placental aging the key to predicting and preventing stillbirth

Current theories indicate that late term stillbirth may be caused by an aging placenta that is no longer working properly. We know that when a placenta gets to this stage, it releases little biochemical markers which end up in the mother’s bloodstream.

This project brings together experts in the placenta, aging and obstetric care of high risk pregnancies, and aims to develop ways to measure how many of these markers are in the mother’s blood. From this information, tests may be developed that can predict the risk of stillbirth so that the obstetrician can deliver the baby before it dies.

 

Amount Granted $53,688

Research institution: Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle

Chief Investigator: Professor Roger Smith

Other investigator:  Professor Jonathan Morris, Professor Robert Aitken