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The term baby loss can describe several different types of bereavement including miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirth, neonatal and infant death, and termination of pregnancy. Pregnancy and baby loss are defined differently around the world. In the UK, a baby who dies before 24 weeks of pregnancy is referred to as a miscarriage; a stillbirth is the death of a baby at or after 24 weeks.  When a baby dies within the first 28 days of life it is called a ‘neonatal death’.

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the uterus, typically in one of the fallopian tubes, where it cannot develop. A molar pregnancy happens when something goes wrong during the initial fertilisation process which means the baby and a placenta do not develop as they should after conception.

While it is not possible to provide a comprehensive briefing on these in this debate pack, there are several Commons Library and POST briefings which may provide useful information in preparation for the debate on baby loss:

Detailed background information about Government policy and programmes in this area, including the National Maternity Review, government targets to reduce stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths, and the National Care Bereavement Care Pathway, can be found in the earlier Commons Library debate pack on Baby Loss Awareness Week 2019 (October 2019).

This debate pack focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic and what impacts it has had on baby loss.

In response to a Parliamentary Question on those who have experienced baby loss, and what effect Covid-19 has had on access to support services, the Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Nadine Dorries MP, stated that additional funding had been made available:

The Government announced £4.2 million of additional funding to mental health charities and charities providing bereavement support during the COVID-19 pandemic and is taking a cross-Government approach to assess what is needed to help ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need.[1]

[1]    PQ 104743 [on Perinatal Mortality: Health Services], 22 October 2020

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