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Baby Loss Awareness Week 2023

By Clare Gooch

Baby Loss Awareness Week is now in its 21st year.

Pregnancy and baby loss affects people from all backgrounds and communities. One in four pregnancies in the UK end  in loss through miscarriage or other complications.

The Department of Health have committed to halving the rate of stillbirths and infant deaths in England by 2025. However, not enough progress has been made, with rates currently off-track to meet the targets.

At Switalskis, baby loss is something we reflect on throughout the year.  Our team are currently working hard to support those who have been impacted by the loss of a child, including the families involved in the public inquiry investigating the Countess of Chester Hospital and the Donna Ockenden inquiry. They are also supporting families involved in the criminal investigation in relation to Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust.

About baby loss awareness week

Baby Loss Awareness Week, in partnership with Sands, is committed to raising awareness of pregnancy and baby loss, and providing support to the bereaved. They are also working with health professionals to drive improvements in care, support, and the prevention of loss.  

Saving Babies’ Lives 2023, The Sands and Tommy’s Joint Policy Unit, formed in 2022, sets out areas where further work is required to reduce rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth and death. Importantly highlighting the need to address persistent inequalities. In England black babies are almost two times more likely to die in the period compared to white babies.

As a result of campaigning during Baby Loss Awareness Week, an enquiry, led by MBRRACE-UK, looked into Black and Asian baby deaths in the UK, highlighting increases in inequality by ethnicity and deprivation.

Dr Clea Harmer, Sands’ Chief Executive, commented: “To achieve the ambition to halve rates of stillbirths, maternal deaths, deaths and serious brain injury by 2025, and to reduce inequalities, policymakers need to make much greater commitments to research. More research is needed to understand what is causing pregnancy losses and baby deaths, to identify interventions, and to evaluate existing programmes.

“The figures released [today] highlight that wide inequalities in mortality by ethnicity continue, with a particularly significant increase in mortality rates for babies of Black ethnicity. Sands is committed to ensuring the voices of Black bereaved parents, as well as those from other ethnic minority groups, are listened to and their experiences used to inform policy changes to improve maternity safety and save babies’ lives.”

This year, MP’s from around the UK will be participating in a debate (Thursday, 19 October) focusing on the progress made since the Ockenden Review at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. The review set out actions needed to improve maternity services in March 2022. By joining Baby Loss Awareness Week Alliance and emailing your MP asking them to attend, you will be helping to keep baby loss and improved care on the governments agenda. Find out more here

Baby loss information and support

Whether you are looking for support or would like help in providing support to a friend, family member or your local community, there are a number of resources available here

Many of the support resources are available in multiple languages, and in EasyRead format. The Voices of Baby Loss podcast shares experiences from all parts of the baby loss community, including parents of different ages, ethnicities and genders, single people, opposite sex and same-sex couples.

Helping to raise awareness of baby loss

There are many ways to support the Baby Loss Awareness Week campaign, which runs from 9–15 October, every year. 

Help break the silence by joining the conversation on social media using the hashtags #BLAW2023 and #babyloss.

The week culminates on 15 October, with the Wave of Light event which will see a number of key landmarks across the UK lighting up blue and pink. See which of your local landmarks will be helping to raise awareness here

Find out more about our team’s expertise in supporting families with concerns about maternity care, by visiting the pregnancy and birth injuries section of our website. Alternatively, call us on 0800 1380 458 or contact us through the website to discuss your circumstances in confidence with a legal specialist.

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Clare has worked in Medical Negligence for over 10 years.  She’s a Senior Associate Solicitor in our Medical Negligence team based in Switalskis’ London office.

Senior Associate Solicitor

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