More than a statistic: compassion in baby loss training
Steph Wild, founder of the Beyond Bea Charity, explores the issues surrounding compassion in baby loss training and bereavement care
Recent data released from MBRRACE-UK (2020) identifies that in 2018, 2 579 babies were stillborn, and 1 199 babies died in the neonatal period. Comparably to the rate of live births of 735, 745 in the same year it may not seem significant but it does inevitably mean that midwives will most certainly experience bereavement in their roles (MBRRACE-UK, 2020).
However, these MBRRACE-UK figures only include babies born above 24 weeks' gestation due to the UK's law relating to viability and registration of births/death/stillbirths. The data also excludes babies classified as stillborn due to termination of pregnancy and babies lost due to ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, early miscarriage, late miscarriage and medical termination. This is important because while the MBRRACE-UK figures may seem reasonably insignificant compared to the birth rate, the actual number of bereaved families is significantly higher. This also means that bereavement care does not just fall under the maternity remit but reaches a wider multi-disciplinary team who all form a huge part in the care of a bereaved family.
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