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Pathways to Parenthood Q3 2023

Where to get support after being affected by baby loss

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Igor Levin

Jen Coates

Director of Bereavement Support Services, Sands

Pregnancy and baby loss affects people from all backgrounds and communities. Currently, 13 families a day in the UK suffer from the heartbreak of losing their baby before, during or shortly after birth, and at least 15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.

No baby should have a higher risk of dying because of their parents’ postcode, ethnicity or income. Shockingly, for some, it is more likely to happen. According to MBRRACE-UK, babies from the most deprived families are 1.6x more likely to die than babies from the least deprived families.1 

Getting the right support after baby loss 

Rowena Pailing, Head of Bereavement Support Services at the charity Sands, says: “We are here to support anyone who has been affected by pregnancy or baby loss. While we recognise that some groups are more likely to experience this, we know that individuals from those same groups may also find it more challenging to access or seek support. That’s why we are constantly reviewing what we offer to ensure it is inclusive and welcoming for all.”  

Support is available for bereaved Black and South Asian parents through dedicated support pages on the website. Safe spaces are held in online monthly support meetings and webinars, which bring communities together to address important topics.  

Accessible resources for various experiences 

Many of the support resources have been translated into multiple languages. Some of the key materials are also available in EasyRead format, which is more accessible for people with learning disabilities and those who find visual representation more supportive.  

The Voices of Baby Loss podcast was also developed to explore the impact of pregnancy and baby loss. Audiences hear from parents of different ages, ethnicities and genders — including single people, opposite sex and same-sex couples. 

Those who are not bereaved themselves may also need support. Sands’ specialist Bereavement in the Workplace training helps managers and colleagues to understand pregnancy loss and baby death. It helps them find the right words to ensure that supportive workplace environments are available for bereaved parents returning to work. 

Those who are not bereaved
themselves may also need support.

Helping to raise awareness of baby loss 

Sands also leads the Baby Loss Awareness Week campaign, which runs from 9–15 October, every year.  

The week provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss; the importance that bereavement support plays in the ongoing bereavement journey; and the vital work needed to improve pregnancy outcomes and save babies’ lives. 

Everyone is on a different step in their grief journey  

Maria’s daughter, Laura, died shortly after birth 35 years ago. Each year, she organises her own Ribbon Remembrance Display during Baby Loss Awareness Week in Clacton-on-Sea in her memory. She says: “I just want people to know that they are not alone and that they have a place to remember their little one.”  

Read Maria’s story, and if you feel inspired to host your own Ribbon Display in your local community to help raise awareness and remember much-loved babies, register your interest today. This year’s theme is ‘Stepping Stones,’ which focuses on the steps along the grief journey and how they are different for everyone. Some steps along the journey can feel harder than others, but there is always a hand to support anyone when they feel unsteady. 

If you have been affected by pregnancy or baby loss, Sands are here for you. Call our helpline on 0808 164 3332, email [email protected] or visit 

[1] MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report UK Perinatal Deaths for Births from January to December 2020

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