Miscarriage, stillbirth & death of a baby
The death of a baby, at any stage of pregnancy or following birth, is a tragic experience that is unique for every bereaved parent.
The Women’s is committed to providing the best possible care to the baby and bereaved family. This service is designed to be timely, comprehensive and responsive to the individual needs of the bereaved woman and her family. The service offers support to women and families at our Parkville campus and the Women's at Sandringham.
Health issues treated
Our specialist bereavement services are available to all women who experience:
- pregnancy loss after 15 weeks pregnancy (gestation)
- a termination of pregnancy due to a genetic or fetal abnormality
- fetal death in utero (FDIU)
- death of a baby after birth
- death of an infant
What we do
We offer a range of support and bereavement services and information, and are able to refer families to appropriate community support agencies.
Information for patients
Holistic and individual care for women and bereaved families is provided at the Women’s by the multi-disciplinary team of the Reproductive Loss Service. The team members include doctors and paediatricians, nurses and midwives, genetic counsellors, social workers and pastoral workers.
When a baby dies, we assist and support families in the early stages of bereavement by encouraging them to acknowledge the relationship they have with their baby. This provides a firm foundation for coming to terms with the loss and for grieving in the time that follows.
According to the family's wishes, we can facilitate acknowledgment of the baby through a variety of means including holding, touching, bathing, dressing, naming and blessing. A memory folder may be created, photographs and special mementos provided, such as clothing for the baby, hand-made quilts and teddy bears.
The family will have one of our staff as an individual point of contact, and will be offered advice about what to expect in hospital, and information about legal requirements. We can facilitate further contact with the doctor and help with follow-up telephone calls and information about bereavement support groups in the community.
We offer emotional support and advocacy on behalf of the woman and her family in discussions with the doctor and other staff, and support during the time when choices must be made about the funeral and post-mortem procedures. We also help with follow-up telephone calls and appointments after a woman is discharged from hospital.
The Reproductive Loss Service also extends support and information to women whose baby may have died many years ago at the Women’s.
Post mortem examination - an explanation for families
This information is for families whose baby has died at the Royal Women’s Hospital. While some of the information will be relevant to families elsewhere, not all hospitals follow the same procedures.
- Post mortem examination - an explanation for families