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Stillborn Babies

A stillborn baby is one of twenty weeks or more gestation or, if it cannot be reliably established whether the period of gestation is more or less than twenty weeks, with a body mass of at least 400 grams at birth, that exhibits no sign of respiration or heartbeat, or other sign of life, after birth [Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (SA) s 4].

A baby of less than twenty weeks that shows no sign of life after birth cannot be registered and no birth or death certificate will be issued.

A baby that is stillborn is registered and a birth certificate is issued, but the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages does not issue death certificates for stillborn babies.

If a baby breathed, even for a moment, and died soon after, the fact of birth and death is registered.

The product of a procedure for the termination of pregnancy [Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (SA) s 4] is not considered a stillborn child.

After the birth of a stillborn child:

  • the birth must be registered in the normal way (the birth certificate will state that it was a stillbirth)
  • stillborn babies do not require investigation by the coroner
  • if the doctor requests an autopsy, the consent form must be signed by the parents. Parents can choose not to have an autopsy performed
  • the parent(s) or next of kin should make funeral arrangements.
Stillborn Babies  :  Last Revised: Fri Nov 7th 2014
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.