Approximately 1 in 4 UK pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth. Every day there are 515 miscarriages, 144 premature births, and 8 stillbirths. This week, 9 to 15 October, is Baby Loss Awareness Week, led by the collaborative body Baby Loss Awareness Week Alliance (BLAWA) – a time for us to join together in safe space of discussion and education to raise awareness of baby loss and campaign for improvements in bereavement care and maternity services.   

In the era of covid-19, loss has been present in our newspapers and minds for many months and has had all of us talking. However, baby loss still often remains a taboo topic and can leave bereaved parents feeling isolated and unable to discuss what they are going through. Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity to break that taboo.

This year’s theme for Baby Loss Awareness Week is Wellbeing. It is hoped that the spotlight can be widened to involve the people who have been working with bereaved families throughout the covid-19 pandemic, such as midwives and nurses. Wellbeing is not a state of mind, it is an active process which requires various internal and external factors to work together. Grief, whether first or second hand, can disarm even the most determined person. One of the challenges of helping those affected by baby loss is tailoring the support to suit each family’s needs, and this can demand multi-disciplinary input.

The BLAWA has allocated a theme to each day of Baby Loss Awareness Week in-keeping with Wellbeing:

  • Saturday 9th October – Introduction to Wellbeing
  • Sunday 10th October – Looking after yourself
  • Monday 11th October - Looking after those who provide care and support and those on the frontline
  • Tuesday 12th October - Looking after siblings (children and adults)
  • Wednesday 13th October - Looking after partners
  • Thursday 14th October - Looking after each other as a community (including the workplace)
  • Friday 15th October - Remembering your baby and Wave of Light at 7pm

The Wave of Light is an annual feature of Baby Loss Awareness Week where people are encouraged to light a candle in remembrance of babies who have died too soon. #WaveOfLight can be used online to share pictures of the candles across social media platforms.

The UK is lucky to have many committed charities and organisations working to raise awareness of baby loss, support bereaved parents and push for improvements in policy and maternity services. When talking about baby loss, it is essential that we create a space of support and compassion for grieving families as well as a platform for discussing practical methods to reduce preventable deaths.

SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) is an example of such an organisation. SANDS provides a free helpline and accessible bereavement services, as well as partnerships with healthcare professionals and health boards. https://www.sands.org.uk/

Details of other organisations which form the BLAWA can be found at: https://babyloss-awareness.org/organisations/

If you have suffered the loss of a baby and you have concerns about your treatment, our national team of lawyers have specialist expertise in clinical negligence cases surrounding stillbirth and baby loss and can offer compassionate and confidential legal advice. Contact a member of our clinical negligence team on 01865 781000 for a free and confidential discussion.

The Freeths national clinical negligence team is headed by:

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes/London) - 01865 781019 / carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk (Foundation for Infant Loss recommended Solicitor for Buckinghamshire)

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham) - 0845 274 6830 / karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk (Foundation for Infant Loss recommended Solicitor for Staffordshire)

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham) - 0845 272 5724 / jane.williams@freeths.co.uk   (Foundation for Infant Loss recommended Solicitor for Leicestershire)

For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence