This week, 9th – 15th October 2017, is Baby Loss Awareness Week; one week of the year dedicated to remembering babies who have sadly died in pregnancy or after birth.
Baby Loss Awareness Week began in 2003 after the success of Baby Loss Awareness Day in 2002. The campaign has steadily grown and is now a collaboration between more than 40 charities including national charities Sands (the stillbirth & neonatal death charity), Bliss (for babies born premature or sick), the Lullaby Trust which provides specialist support for bereaved families and raises awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the Miscarriage Association which supports those affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and molar pregnancy and Tommy’s, a charity which funds research into the causes of baby deaths.
People often avoid discussing pregnancy loss and baby loss and this is something that Baby Loss Awareness Week is working to address. Because of the secrecy surrounding pregnancy loss and baby loss, the statistics for baby loss in the UK are perhaps higher than many people might assume:
- Among women who know that they are pregnant, 1 in 6 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. This is when the baby dies before 24 weeks gestation.
- Every year, there are more than 3,600 stillbirths in the UK. This is when the baby is born dead after the 24th week of pregnancy. For every 200 births, one will end in a stillbirth.
- In 2015, 1,652 babies born in the UK died within the first week of their lives. Another 465 babies died within the following three weeks.
- In 2015, one in 370 babies born in the UK died within the first four weeks of life.
The Baby Loss Awareness Week campaign has three main aims:
- The first is to provide an opportunity for bereaved parents, their families and their friends to come together and commemorate their babies’ lives.
- The second is to increase awareness in the UK of the issues that can arise both with pregnancy loss and baby loss. This year the campaign pays particular focus on improving services and support to those who have lost a baby to ensure that all those affected are provided with a good standard of bereavement care regardless of their geographical location. Although bereavement care training is mandatory for all NHS Trusts, the standard of bereavement care parents receive varies considerably depending on the region in which they live. As a result, lots of parents do not receive the support they require following the loss of a child.
- The third aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of what the charities and organisations are doing to provide bereavement support for pregnancy and baby loss.
Baby Loss Awareness Week will finish on October 15th 2017 with the Global Wave of Light where participants are asked to light a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least one hour to remember all of the babies that have sadly died.
If you’ve lost a baby, support is available to you and your family. Please do visit https://babyloss-awareness.org/ to find the details of charities and organisations which may be able to assist you at this difficult time.
Part of the bereavement process for parents may involve seeking answers about what happened to their baby. The experienced team at Freeths can assist parents with obtaining answers to their questions. If you have lost a baby either in pregnancy or after birth and you have concerns about the care you or your baby were given, please contact the Freeths clinical negligence team on 01865 781000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free and confidential discussion.