Parents may suffer loss in many different ways: very early in pregnancy (‘miscarriage’) or later during the pregnancy (‘stillbirth’), or after the baby had been born (‘neonatal death’). When the loss occurred early in pregnancy it is common for these issues to be overlooked, or ‘downplayed’. When speaking with parents it is important to recognise these differing experiences. Many parents tell us that the loss of the ‘special status’ associated with having twins, is particularly painful. Parents appreciate it when staff recognise that their surviving baby is a twin and find it upsetting when that is forgotten.

  • Review notes and find out what happened and when, and communicate this with the rest of the team
  • Recognise that every parent and family has a unique set of experiences, challenges and needs
  • Finding out your baby has died, or watching your baby become seriously ill is always shocking, and parents may experience trauma for months and years thereafter
  • Do not downplay the grief that is felt in miscarriage or stillbirth – loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy is traumatic
  • Offer parents a butterfly cot card or note sticker

After 5 years of IVF, I couldn’t believe… we are going to lose both these children.

She had swollen up like a puffer fish. She didn’t look like our baby at all.

We did the best thing for her, but it left us broken.