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A general debate on Baby Loss Awareness Week will take place in the Commons Chamber on 9 October 2018. The subject of the debate was decided by the Backbench Business Committee, and the debate will be led by Antoinette Sandbach MP.

Baby loss Awareness Week 2018 is on 9-15 October. This is an opportunity for those affected by baby loss to remember and commemorate their babies’ lives, and to raise awareness of this issue. The Baby Loss Awareness Week website provides more information about the aims of the week:

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity:

  • for bereaved parents, and their families and friends, to unite with others across the world to commemorate their babies’ lives.
  • to raise awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK, and push for tangible improvements in bereavement care and support.
  • to let the public and key stakeholders know what charities and other supportive organisations are doing on bereavement care and support around pregnancy and baby loss.

The charities leading Baby Loss Awareness Week are committed to raising awareness of pregnancy and baby loss, providing support to anyone affected by pregnancy loss and the death of a baby, working with health professionals and services to improve bereavement care, and reducing preventable deaths.[1]

Baby Loss Awareness week is coordinated and supported by over 60 UK charities including Sands, the Miscarriage Association and Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC). In Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018, these charities are calling for improvements and increased consistency in the provision of bereavement care in UK hospitals:

We believe that everyone who has experienced pregnancy loss or the death of their baby should be offered high quality bereavement care and support, wherever they live in the UK, when they need it, for as long as they need it.

The care that bereaved families receive from health and other professionals can have long-lasting effects.Good care cannot remove parents’ pain and grief, but it can help them through this devastating time. In contrast, poor care can significantly add to their distress.However, the standard of care in the UK varies between regions, and even within settings depending on at what stage a loss occurs – from early pregnancy through to infancy.As a result many parents do not receive the good quality bereavement support they so desperately need after pregnancy or baby loss.

Bereavement care training is mandatory in less than half of NHS Trusts and Health Boards. At the last count, one in three Trusts and Health Boards did not have a dedicated bereavement room in each maternity unit they cover.Source: Sands Bereavement Care Audit Report 2016

Bereavement care must get better and we will be announcing during Baby Loss Awareness Week how we believe this can happen.[2]

The term baby loss can describe a number of different types of bereavement including, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, neonatal and infant death, and termination of pregnancy. It is not possible to provide a comprehensive briefing on these in this debate pack. However, this briefing will highlight key recent policy announcements and parliamentary activity in this area.

A number of Commons library and POST publications may provide useful information in preparation for the debate on baby loss awareness week:

[1]Baby Loss Awareness Week website

[2]Baby Loss Awareness Week website: About Baby Loss Awareness Week

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