Information for parents who have suffered a stillbirth or neonatal death
We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to you at this time. The early days following bereavement can often be bewildering and difficult. This page has been prepared to offer information for bereaved parents who have suffered the loss of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy. We hope you find the following information helpful.
Spending time with your baby
You and your family may wish to spend time with your baby. During this time, you may wish to wash, dress, hold and cuddle your baby. It may be possible to obtain hand and footprints and a lock of hair. A midwife will be present to help with this.
The hospital can arrange for photographs of your baby to be taken free of charge, please ask your midwife is this is something you would like us to arrange. There are leaflets available in the room with advice and information. You can also take photographs yourself.
Blessing of your baby
When your baby is born your midwife or nurse, with your permission, can contact the hospital chaplain or your own religious leader. Even if you do not have a particular religious faith, you may find it helpful to talk to one of them, and you may like a blessing for your baby.
Following your discharge from hospital, your community midwife will offer to visit you at home. The Bereavement Support Midwife will also contact you to arrange follow up support. Your GP and health visitor will be informed about what has happened and may contact you.
You will be offered a follow up appointment with your hospital consultant at around 8 weeks post birth if your baby has not had a Post Mortem examination. If your baby has had a Post Mortem, results can take up to 18 weeks. If you have any questions or would like to talk to the Bereavement Support Midwife during this time, please call 07799 060 328 or 0300 422 5564. You will then be offered an appointment with the consultant during which time you will have the opportunity to discuss any results, ask questions and discuss future pregnancies.
Registering your baby
The midwife or doctor will issue you with either a certificate of stillbirth or a neonatal death certificate. This certificate will be scanned and sent to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages by hospital staff. The registrar will contact you in the following days to arrange an appointment to register your baby.
Following a neonatal death, your baby must be registered within 5 working days (this does not include weekends and Bank Holidays).
Following a stillbirth, you have 42 days in which to register. Funeral arrangements cannot be made until this has been done.
When you visit the registrar, you will be given a certificate for burial or cremation.
Please note: If parents are unmarried, either both parents or just the mother need to be present to register.
Registry office are located at:
Opening hours will vary depending on the location.
You can make arrangements for your own private funeral service. The Bereavement Specialist Midwife can provide support and advice about this. Your baby can be cremated or buried in a cemetery of your choice. The burial or cremation certificate, from the registrar, should be taken to the funeral director you have chosen, together with a release form which will be issued from the hospital. Although the thought of arranging and attending the funeral may seem painful and distressing, afterwards you may find it beneficial and a comfort to you in your grief.
Hospital Remembrance Books
There is a Remembrance Book in the Hospital Chapel where you are welcome to place an entry in memory of your baby. Please ask your bereavement midwife for further details.
Cheltenham General Hospital
Tel: 0300 422 4286
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Tel: 0300 422 6200
Bereavement Support Midwife
You can contact the Bereavement Support Midwife on:
Tel: 0300 422 5564
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
Tel: 0808 164 3332
You can also download the Sands Bereavement Support App from Google Play or the App Store. The app will allow you to view in the language of your choice.
Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC)
Translation of some leaflets is available.
Tel: 0845 077 2290
If using a mobile:
Tel: 020 7713 7486
A local baby loss peer support group. Please search for ‘forget me not baby loss support group’ at www.facebook.com
The Lullaby Trust
Tel: 0808 802 6868
Footsteps Counselling & Care
Tel: 01452 308618
Child Bereavement Trust (CBT)
Tel: 0800 02 888 40