UK parents to start receiving new ‘recognition’ of pregnancy loss
Losing a baby is devastating, no matter when it happens.
Unfortunately, pregnancy loss is extremely common, with statistics showing that as many as one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
To parents experiencing this loss, it is needless to say it affects them deeply, and can continue doing so for a long time.
Currently, in the UK, for anyone who suffers a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks, there is no formal process for parents to legally register their baby.
However, a new Government initiative means that anyone who has had a miscarriage or even an ectopic pregnancy before 24 weeks can receive an official certificate recording their loss.
The new initiative is part of the Women’s Health Strategy for England, which focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of women.
The hope is that the new certificates, which parents can decide if they want to receive or not, will provide some comfort to families. And while the new certificates aren’t an official record, campaigners say they will provide much needed recognition to families of the baby they have lost.
‘We welcome this strategy and, in particular, the commitment to allow optional certification which we will know will be much appreciated by many people whose babies’ brief lives cannot be officially registered.’
However, the charity Tommy’s, which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, says they welcome the certificates, but think that even more change is needed.
Tommy is now calling for miscarriages to be officially recorded to allow the miscarriage rate to be measured nationally.
‘We currently have no understanding of the true scale of miscarriage in the UK – and without robust data, we can’t know whether rates of loss are rising or falling, or tell if the support being put in place to prevent loss is working.’
'This would have made a huge difference to me'
The news of the pregnancy loss certificates has been welcomed by parents across the UK, with many saying they wish these had been available a long time ago.
Speaking to the Miscarriage Association, one mum who reveals she has suffered three miscarriages in her first trimester, said:
'A pregnancy loss certificate would have made a huge difference to me in the grieving process for my miscarriages. To me, each of those losses was a baby as much as the child I was able to carry to term, and to have the option to have this recognised would have meant the world to me."
‘I felt that my losses were seen as a physical medical issue for myself, and the lack of acknowledgement of what that meant for me was deeply hurtful. I believe these certificates would be a positive step in recognising the reality of the pain carried by all people processing the loss of a baby before 24 weeks.’