Certificate for baby loss introduced to acknowledge parents’ grief

Starting from 22 February 2024, parents who have undergone the loss of a pregnancy before the 24th week can now apply for baby loss certificates. 

Issued by the Department of Health and Social Care, along with The Rt Hon Victoria Atkins MP and Maria Caulfield MP, this initiative aims to provide formal recognition of the profound loss experienced by parents during early pregnancy. 

Key points: 

  • The introduction of these certificates aligns with the Women’s Health Strategy for England and recommendations from the Pregnancy Loss Review. 
  • This voluntary scheme allows parents to formally acknowledge their loss by obtaining a certificate, reflecting the government’s commitment to supporting bereaved parents. 
  • Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins, emphasised the significance of these certificates in acknowledging the emotional turmoil of losing a baby and thanked charities and campaigners for their contributions. 
  • Minister for the Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield, highlighted the certificates as part of a broader plan to enhance women’s health care. 
  • The government’s response to the independent Pregnancy Loss Review included prioritising the implementation of baby loss certificates and recognising the need for improved care and support for grieving parents. 
  • The certificates will not be mandatory, respecting parents’ autonomy in managing their grief. 
  • To ensure comprehensive support for women, the government is investing £25 million in women’s health hubs, offering integrated services for various health needs. 
  • Stakeholders, including Zoe Clark-Coates MBE BCAh, Samantha Collinge, and Ruth Bender Atik, expressed support for the initiative, emphasising its importance in recognizing the existence and significance of lost lives. 
  • Background information includes eligibility criteria for accessing the certificates and plans to expand eligibility for losses predating September 2018. 

This introduction marks a significant step in addressing the emotional needs of parents who have experienced early pregnancy loss, emphasizing compassion and recognition during a challenging time. 

Minister for the Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield, said:  

We have listened to parents who have gone through what can be an unbelievably painful experience of losing a baby, and that is why today we are introducing baby loss certificates to recognise their loss, as part of our wider long-term plan for women’s health in our country, the Women’s Health Strategy. I would like to thank the tireless work of campaigners and charities for their work in supporting this agenda and making the certificates a reality.

To ensure all women get the support they need, the government is investing £25 million in women’s health hubs. Women’s health hubs provide integrated services for women in the community, enabling easier access to essential services for menstrual health, contraception, pelvic pain, menopause care and more. 

Kate Brintworth, Chief Midwifery Officer for England – NHS England, said:

Compassionate and personalised care at every stage of pregnancy is vital, and I am pleased that women in England will now be able to access a baby loss certificate which recognises the impact and importance of early pregnancy loss to them and their families. The NHS is improving maternity and neonatal bereavement care across England, including by next month bereavement services will be available in almost every NHS trust, 7 days a week for women and families who sadly experience loss.

The government recognises the tireless work of campaigners who have spoken publicly about their experience with loss, and charities including Tommy’s, Sands, the Miscarriage Association and the Mariposa Trust, for continuing to raise awareness of this important issue. Supportive stakeholder reaction 

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