MPs Share Traumatic Experiences For Baby Loss Awareness Week


The Law Of... raising awareness of baby loss

As part of Baby Loss Awareness Week, a campaign to raise awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK, two MPs have spoken about the traumatic experience they both suffered when they lost their children.

The Law Of... raising awareness of baby loss

Responding to the awareness campaign, Daxa Patel – Partner in Medical Negligence – explains the impact losing a child can have on families.

Baby Loss Awareness Week

Organised by a collection of charities, Baby Loss Awareness Week is seen as an opportunity:

  • For those affected by baby loss to unite and commemorate their babies' lives
  • To raise awareness about the tragedy and make others aware of the trauma caused by baby loss
  • To publicise what baby charities are doing to reduce the number of baby deaths and highlight the support that is available to those affected

Concluding with a global 'Wave of Light' on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – the 15th October – the awareness week has prompted many individuals and families affected by baby loss to come forward and share their experiences.

This included Conservative MPs Antoinette Sandbach and Will Quince, both of whom have lost babies either at birth or shortly after birth.

Taking the issue to the House of Commons, the MPs have advocated for more support to be offered to those affected by stillbirth or neonatal death.

Avoidable Deaths

Previous Baby Loss Awareness Weeks have seen reports published into the nature of stillbirths and neonatal deaths, finding that many deaths are avoidable tragedies.

For the last 20 years, the rate of stillbirth in the UK has remained largely unchanged, with around 4,000 deaths every year.

Contrary to popular perception, most stillbirths are not a result of birth defects; 1,000 stillbirths occur when the baby is normally formed, considered low risk, and would have survived outside the womb – in these instances delivering the baby in time could have saved their lives. Serious birth defects are noted in less than 10% of stillbirths.

It is estimated that 11 babies are stillborn and a further 6 die soon after their birth every day in the UK.

Speaking of moves to tackle stillbirths and neonatal death, Will Quince MP told Parliament:

"The sad case is around half of stillbirths are preventable. That is 2,000 babies a year. That is 2,000 families who don't have to go through this. And we have one of the best healthcare systems in the world."

"The government has pledged to cut the number of these preventable deaths by 2020 and halve it by 2030 and are putting the money in to help. But there is the issue that care isn't consistent across NHS trusts."

Offering Support To Families

One of the main goals of Baby Loss Awareness Week is to raise awareness of the support available to families affected by stillbirth and neonatal deaths.

Sands is the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK, offering support and care to those affected by baby loss.

The charity also conducts research into how to reduce risks during pregnancy and looks to bring down the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in the UK.

Discussing the sensitive topic, Daxa said:

"The death of a baby can be even more traumatic than other forms of loss and the tragedy definitely warrants more awareness, as well as better support for the families."

"With the many cases of stillbirth that we deal with, it is so distressing to hear the stories from our clients where sometimes they are not given a proper explanation as to why their baby did not survive, as many stillbirths – around 1 in 3 – are described as unexplained."

"These parents require sympathy and answers. Some parents will never overcome the death of their baby and they should be able to reach out and access counselling and other support services."

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