TopicsHealth & WellbeingGovernment takes immediate action to support parents who lose babies during pregnancy

Government takes immediate action to support parents who lose babies during pregnancy

Following an independent pregnancy loss review in England, the government has announced immediate plans to acknowledge its recommendations in supporting parents who experience a pre-24-week pregnancy loss.

According to the government response, parents will be able to request a certificate of baby loss from October this year. The certificate is voluntary for parents who have experienced pregnancy loss before 24 weeks. Medical verification is not required, meaning it will also be available to those who experienced loss before the launch of the service.

The government will also work to develop appropriate, respectful containers and cold storage facilities to store baby loss remains after a miscarriage. This comes in response to some families advised to retrieve their baby’s remains from the toilet, and to keep them in their home fridge, in some instances up to several days.

Guidelines on miscarriages will be reviewed to ensure parents receive ongoing care after every loss. There are currently no detailed care guidelines for parents who have experienced fewer than three miscarriages.

The independent review recommended that guidance should include specific support, advice and testing following a first, second, or third miscarriage. The Tommy’s Miscarriage Centre at Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital is launching a three-month pilot that will assess the effectiveness of this graded model of care.

And the government pledged that the investment needed to implement such a service would be considered alongside the results of the pilot to inform their decision on funding and future implementation. 

Responding to the government’s pledge, Tommy’s Chief Executive Kath Abrahams said:

‘It is simply not acceptable that people must wait for a third devastating and traumatic miscarriage until they qualify for any sort of support and care which may find answers and treatments which might help them bring home a baby.’

The pregnancy loss review – which took five years – considered experiences from parents, professionals, and local authorities to compile their completed report. In their response, the government has announced they will establish a Pregnancy Loss Ministerial Oversight Group to ensure there are clear links to parents between primary care, maternity, gynaecology and emergency services.

Every year in the UK, an estimated 250,000 pregnancies end through miscarriage, making it the most common complication of pregnancy experienced by an estimated one in five women. 

Image credit | Shutterstock


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