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Coping with baby loss as a midwife

02 December 2019
Volume 27 · Issue 12
 Midwives need more specialist support when it comes to dealing with baby loss on an emotional level
Midwives need more specialist support when it comes to dealing with baby loss on an emotional level


More midwives should have access to specialist bereavement training and support, according to Paula Abramson

Every year, more than 6 500 babies and children under the age of five die in the UK (Child Bereavement UK, 2017). While it is widely recognised that bereaved parents should receive high-quality support and care from professionals, it is equally important that professionals have the necessary training to feel supported and validated in this most challenging area of their work. I have noticed in recent years that there has been a growing awareness of the need to offer training and support to professionals working with bereaved families. In my experience, whilst high-quality training is available, uptake remains frustratingly low.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Baby Loss (2016) has recognised that ‘all professionals coming into contact with bereaved parents require and deserve continuous professional development on this subject’. However, bereavement training remains restricted for many midwives due to a lack of funding and the inability for staff to be released within the NHS. While a limited amount of mandatory bereavement training is sometimes available, management may consider this to be a lower priority than other competing demands. Even when it is available, it is often limited in terms of time and scope. I know that some healthcare professionals feel so strongly about providing good bereavement support that they often resort to self-funded training and taking annual leave to attend a course.

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