Baby Loss Awareness Week

Baby loss awareness week

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

Sadly, losing a baby is not a rare event and it can happen to anyone, with 1 in 4 people experiencing pregnancy or baby loss.

9-15 October marks Baby Loss Awareness Week, the week that raises awareness about pregnancy loss and baby death here in the UK.

Throughout the week bereaved parents, family members and friends can commemorate the all-too-brief lives of their babies, knowing that thousands of other families elsewhere in the world will be doing the same.

It's important for us to come together in support of those who have been affected by the loss of a baby to let them know they are not alone and that we're here to support them.

2021 pregnancy loss statistics from Tommy's

Below are some of the latest Tommy's statistics on pregnancy loss...

• 694,685 births were registered in 2021

• There were 2,866 stillbirths (when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy or more) in 2021

• Approximately 53,000 babies were born prematurely in 2021

• An estimated 1 in 5 pregnancies ended in miscarriage (1 in 6 if we only count women who realised/reported the miscarriage)

• Estimates suggest there are 250,000 miscarriages every year in the UK, and around 11,000 emergency admissions for ectopic pregnancies.

• There were 1,719 neonatal deaths (when a baby is born alive but dies under the age of 28 days) in England and Wales in 2021

• 217 women died during or up to 6 weeks after pregnancy between 2016-2018 - this equates to 9.6 women per 100,000 who died due to causes associated with pregnancy during pregnancy or soon after

Viki Ferguson’s daughter Megan was stillborn at 35 weeks in March 2014.

Viki said: "I feel that Baby Loss Awareness Week is just as important for people who haven't suffered a loss as for those of us who have.

“Getting this message out, which is so much easier these days with social media, highlights issues that are taboo but it also educates people on how to treat and behave around those who have lost a baby.

“Dedicating a whole week keeps it in the public eye and allows the bereaved, not just the parents, but the wider circle of family and friends to have an outlet.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, and potential godparents have all lost a baby too, but they're not always noticed.

“I find that a lot of my family and friends show support around the time of my daughter's birthday but the rest of the time, they try to avoid the subject for fear of upsetting us, but by supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week, we're showing that it's OK to speak about it and acknowledge it.

“Our little angels are in our thoughts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her, but having this week dedicated to highlighting risks, what to look out for, possible prevention and research are so important for those around us.  And for it to culminate in the Wave of Light is a way to remember all of our angels."

How to get involved with Baby Loss Awareness Week

Break the silence

Viki and many other women have openly spoken about their loss and how their journey has affected them. For them and all the other women worldwide, we want to rise up and talk about all walks of life and loss to support you.

Join the global #WaveOfLight

Every year, BLAW ends with the Wave of Light. Along with bereaved families across the world, light a candle at 7pm on 15 October in memory of every baby who has died. Post a photo of your candle to appear on your social feed along with the hashtag #WaveOfLight. You can purchase a dedicated Wave of Light candle where 100% of the profits go towards supporting Tommy's.

Take part in events

No official mass-participation events are currently planned for Baby Loss Awareness Week 2023 but there are plenty of local ones such as Wave of Light services that you may wish to get involved with. Find your nearest one.

Some people also take the opportunity to share their experiences, photos of their little one, or of things they did to honour their memory such as miscarriage tattoos.

Support for baby loss

If you've experienced loss or someone you know is struggling, we've put together some helpful resources and charities that can help families through their grief.

Tommy's organisation

Tommy's fund research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and provide pregnancy health information to parents. They support parents to have the best possible pregnancy outcomes and to take home happy, healthy babies. Go to www.tommys.org for more.

Sands

Sands, stillbirth and neonatal death charity offer support to those who have been affected by the loss of a baby for both families and professionals. You can call them on 0808 164 3332 or email them at helpline@sands.org.uk. Visit [www.sands.org.uk]{href='http://www.sands.org.uk' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener nofollow'} for more information.

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye provides comprehensive information, advice, support and much more to anyone who has suffered the loss of a baby, at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. You can call them on 0845 293 8027 or email support@sayinggoodbye.org. Find out more at www.sayinggoodbye.org/.

Miscarriage Association

If you’ve been affected by miscarriage, molar pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy, Miscarriage Association can provide the help and support you need. Call 01924 200799 or email info@miscarriageassociation.org.uk. You can visit www.miscarriageassociation.org.ukto find out more information.

Petals

Petals charity works to provide specialist counselling for families who have been affected by baby loss. You can reach them on 0300 688 0068 or email counselling@petalscharity.org. You can find out more information about Petals at petalscharity.org.

Emily Gilbertis the Features & Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby and has written for the website and previously the magazine for six years. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases in the parenting industry.

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