NZ stillbirth rate 10 times higher than cot deaths

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... New Zealand's stillbirth rate is 10 times higher than the number of cot deaths.

... about half could be saved if mothers had better access to medical care.

Heather Clarke has a son and two daughters, but Danielle will never get to meet her big sister Stephanie - at a routine check up at 33 three weeks, Ms Clarke got the news every expectant mother dreads.

"I knew something was wrong. Everything was taking far too long, nobody was saying anything, and then my midwife just put her hand on my shoulder and said, 'I'm so sorry honey, your baby has died.'

"I can't describe how I felt. Our whole world just fell away."

... stillbirth rates in developed countries are frighteningly high. In New Zealand alone, at least one baby is stillborn every day, six out of every 1000 births, and in a third of all cases, the cause is unknown.

There are some risk factors - women aged 35-plus are more vulnerable, as are those who smoke or drink.

Researchers are particularly worried about rising obesity levels.

... early antenatal care, would be a step forward in prevention.