When a baby lives only a short time or dies before birth due to miscarriage, stillbirth or a painful decision to end the pregnancy, people may assume that the loss is not important. This is simply not the case. The intensity of love parents feel for their baby is not measured by how long the baby lived, but in the emotional investment, they have in their child.

For parents expecting to welcome a new life, instead facing the reality that their baby has not lived can be immensely difficult.  Finding answers to why it has happened can be very important, and this may be something medical staff can tell you, but sometimes there is no clear answer. 

If you have physically given birth to a baby, you will still experience all the normal bodily post-natal reactions but without the baby, which may be devastating.

When your baby dies – a particular kind of grief

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Partners may grieve differently

Partners both grieve for their baby, but some might be torn between their own grief and concern for their partner. For some partners, their grief can be overlooked by others who focus only on the birth mother.



Partners both grieve for their baby, but some might be torn between their own grief and concern for their partner. For some partners, their grief can be overlooked by others who focus only on the birth mother.

Partners may grieve differently



Trying to make decisions after your baby has died may feel almost impossible, but it is important to ask for support from your GP, the hospital or a funeral director so that you know what the options are.  When grieving, it can help to feel that you were supported at the time to make important decisions.

Saying goodbye to your baby or child


Explaining to children



If you have other children, you may focus on their needs or worry about how they might react. Children of all ages need honest, age-appropriate information about what has happened and normal routines as far as possible.  They also need reassurance that it is OK for them and for you to have different feelings at different times, including being sad, confused, angry and happy. 

Explaining miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a newborn baby to a young child

View our short guidance film: Explaining to a child that someone has died





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