Almost 2 million stillbirths occurred globally in 2021. This number may be an underestimate since stillbirths are quite often not reported. Two in five of these births occur during labour. While some progress has been made in reducing the global stillbirth rate, substantial disparities persist between and within regions and countries, with the most vulnerable groups continuing to experience disparities in all countries. High quality and timely maternity care and support can reduce the devastating impacts of stillbirths on women, families, communities and health workers. This guide hopes to inspire the change needed to end preventable stillbirths and ensure respectful and supportive care for every woman and family after stillbirth.

Included in this guide are links to global guidelines, toolkits, key initiatives, training resources, data sources and publications about stillbirth and care along the continuum of maternal and child health. Case studies from a wide range of geographical contexts are also included to illustrate what can be achieved.

The target audience of this guide includes:

  • Country-level and subnational governments and stakeholders, including ministries of health, civil registration authorities and national statistics offices.
  • Health-professional organizations including national medical, midwifery and nursing associations and other relevant bodies.
  • Hospital and health facility directors, managers and administrators.

The authors anticipate that the guide will also be useful for parents, parent organizations, community leaders, individual clinicians and others who advocate for stillbirth prevention and respectful and supportive care after stillbirth to be integrated along the continuum of maternal and child health care.

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