Giving Birth - Stillbirth

If you have any concerns or questions about Stillbirth speak to your GP or midwife - this information is a general overview and not intended as professional medical advice.

What is stillbirth?

A baby that is stillborn is a baby that has died after the 24th week of pregnancy.

Perinatal death means a baby that is born dead, or dies within 7 days of birth.

Neonatal death talks about babies who die within 4 weeks of birth.

Facts about stillbirth

  • About 1 in 100 babies are stillborn or die within 7 days.
  • In most cases the baby dies before labour begins.
  • In over half of stillbirths the cause remains unknown.

Reducing the risks of stillbirth

Keep in contact with your midwife. Tell her of any concerns you have, especially if you have any abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding. Be aware of your baby’s movements. Make sure you attend all of your antenatal appointments.

Follow pregnancy health advice and guidelines.

  • Stop smoking.
  • Follow the dietary advice for pregnant women, foods to avoid and include.

What are the future risks?

In cases of unexplained stillbirth, there has not been found to be any greater risk of a subsequent stillbirth. It is a very personal decision you will have to make, as to whether you want to try to conceive again and how soon.

When there is an explanation for the stillbirth, then it depends on the cause and individual circumstances. You will need to see your doctor for advice, so you can make an informed decision.

Getting help

It is important that you ask for any help you need, following your stillbirth. You have experienced a major trauma and loss, which you need opportunity to grieve for. It may be beneficial for you to talk to a counsellor.

You can also contact SANDs (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Society) on 020 74365881 or www.uk-sands.org .

Contact Tommy’s Campaign advice line on 0870 7773060 or www.tommys.org .

Funeral Services

It is law that a baby born after 24 weeks needs to be buried or cremated. You can organise this yourself, or the hospital can do it for you. See the SAND’s website for more information on funeral services.

You will also need to register your baby.