RCM welcomes introduction of baby loss certificates

By Gemma Murphy on 22 February 2024 Stillbirth Bereavement Care Pregnancy Midwives Specialist Midwives Sands NHS England England NHS Government RCM Member

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed the launch of baby loss certificates for parents who have experienced the loss of a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

From today parents in England can access the government’s voluntary scheme if they wish to record and receive a certificate which recognises the loss of their baby.

The certificate can be accessed by either parent and is available to those who have lost their babies since the 1 September 2018. If you don’t currently reside in England but suffered the loss of your baby in England, you are also entitled to apply for a baby loss certificate.

Commenting, Clare Livingstone Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM, said:

“The loss of a pregnancy, at any stage, is absolutely devastating. For many women and families to have an official acknowledgment of their pregnancy can give them some comfort. So, the RCM really welcomes the launch of baby loss certificates.”

The RCM works closely with the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS). Sands leads a collaboration of organisations involved in the development of the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP), which aims to improve the quality and consistency of NHS bereavement care received by every parent during and after pregnancy or baby loss.

While there are some excellent examples of bereavement support across the country, the RCM says perinatal mental health is not often given the priority it needs. This it says can impact on the level of support that women and their families receive when they lose a baby.

Clare added: “Dedicated support for women and families with pregnancy loss is vital, but sadly this can be lacking due to staff shortages and inadequate funding. The Government have taken this important step to officially recognise baby loss and it now needs to ensure that high quality bereavement services are available everywhere, so that all women are appropriately cared for.’

RCM members who wish to apply for a baby loss certificate or signpost the certificate scheme to women in their care can do so here. The RCM has also produced a webinar to better support its members with bereavement care.