The death of a baby during pregnancy, birth, or soon after is a life-changing event for many parents. Feelings such as deep sadness, anxiety, anger, confusion, distress, and emptiness are a normal part of grief when a baby dies, and sometimes these emotions can feel overwhelming.
There are often difficult decisions to make and things to plan. These include making choices about care for you and your baby while you are in hospital and finding support when you return home.
Facing a future without your baby can be hard. It may be that your loss is quite recent, or it may be a little longer since your baby died.
There is no set time frame for grief and there is no set way to grieve the loss of a baby. Bereaved parents often have different needs for support at different times. Support can come from different places, including family and friends, local and online support groups, telephone helplines and seeing a health professional.
"My baby may not be here, but they will always be a part of me. In my heart. In my soul. In my mind. And everywhere I go.”
When a baby dies there are often difficult decisions to make and things to plan. Some topics can be hard to think about or discuss. We have developed a guide for parents that will add to the information and support they receive from their health care team before and soon after the loss of a baby. It aims to help parents to explore options, to think about what is most important to them, and to support decisions that are best for them and for their baby. Topics covered include: preparing for your baby’s birth, honouring your baby, understanding why your baby died, and leaving hospital.Download digital guide
There are a range of resources to support you in making decisions around investigations to understand why your baby died. At a time of intense grief and many emotions, parents may be asked to think about investigations such as an autopsy for their baby (sometimes called a post-mortem examination). This is one of the most confronting decisions for parents and families.
We hope that these resources provide you with information that will help make the decision that is best for you, your baby, and your family.
This brochure has been designed to help you understand your options and outline some of the decisions you need to make.
Most parents have questions regarding an autopsy, and we hope that this document provides information that will help them make the decision that is best for them, their baby and their family.Understanding what happened to your baby - Parent brochure Understanding what happened to bub - Indigenous Parent brochure Trying to find answers - Autopsy brochure Translated brochures and other resources
The Living with Loss (LWL) program is for parents who have experienced the loss of their baby during pregnancy or soon after birth. The LWL program features six modules which have been carefully created to provide you with some approaches to help with common challenges faced by bereaved parents.
Module 1: Understanding Grief
Module 2: Coping with grief
Module 3: Thinking about grief
Module 4: Facing hard situations
Module 5: Strengthening relationships
Module 6: The future
Most importantly, this program has been designed and developed with parents like you. The LWL program offers another option for support that we hope you may find helpful.eLearning modules will be available soon
The voices of parents and families are so important to inform research on preventing stillbirth and improving care for families who experience this loss. This guide has been developed to support and encourage you to be involved in stillbirth research. We have also developed a Stillbirth Research Involvement Registry to bring parents and researchers together
"It was the knowledge of how important research is that made me
want to help. I hope that my experience can do that in some way."
Acknowledgement of Country
The Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this land and their ongoing custodianship. We pay our respects to their Ancestors and their descendants, who continue cultural and spiritual connections to Country.
We acknowledge the diversity across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, language and practices and that it is vital that all health care services respectfully manage protocol and provide a culturally positive health care experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when going through sorry business.