Sadly, sometimes babies do die before, during or shortly after birth. 15 babies die every day in the UK. This is always a devastating experience for parents and their families.
It’s not always clear what causes the death of a baby, and many babies die following a trouble free pregnancy. However, there are things you can do that will help make your pregnancy as safe as possibly can be for you and your baby. Check out the other Our Chance films to learn what signs and symptoms to look out for. Our Films
Above all, if you have any concerns during your pregnancy, such as feeling your baby isn’t moving as much as usual, do trust your own judgement and get in contact with your midwife or GP immediately so you can rule out any problems.
“We got to spend as much time as we wanted with him and just hold him. We got quite a lot of photographs taken with him.
You’ve carried a baby for nine months, you are a mother. But to not mother a child… it’s like nothing I can explain. It’s so isolating as it’s not something people talk about. Nobody knows your experience.”
If the worst does happen…
When a baby dies, mums and dads not only have to deal with the shock and grief of their loss, they are suddenly faced with decisions they never expected to have to make. Many parents find it helps to create memories of their baby and to collect keepsakes that will help them to remember them.
Many parents find that naming and spending time with their baby can be a comfort at an incredibly difficult time. In hospitals, it helps if they have a Bereavement Suite, which is a quiet space away from the maternity wards. Having photos taken, too, will mean parents have something precious to keep following the death of their baby. Small things like the photographs, baby’s teddy, a blanket and some clothes collected in a memory box will mean they have something to share with family members and friends afterwards which will help them to understand what the death of their baby means to the parents.
If the worst does happen or if you have experienced the death of a baby in the past, support is available for you and anyone affected by your baby’s death from the charity Sands – the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
“We went to the funeral home on Thursday to see him, it was such a relief to get him back. It was so good to have him in my arms. We chose to have the day and night on Friday just the three of us. We told Noah stories, showed him his bedroom; which was filled with all of his presents clothes and so much love. He stayed in his crib next to me as we slept.
It was heart-warming seeing Noah where he should be, but devastating knowing we would only have him there one more night and he would be gone forever.”
You can contact the Sands Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7436 5881. Or, if you would like to speak with others whose baby has died, the Sands Forum offers a safe, confidential platform to do so or you could join one of Sands local support groups around the UK.
Sands also has a range of booklets and Bereavement Support Packs written specifically for those affected by the death of a baby. These can be downloaded from the Resources section of the Sands website or ordered from the Sands Shop. Memory boxes are also available to hospitals and to individuals from Sands, if needed.