New government initiative to provide parents with "recognition" of pregnancy loss

·2-min read

Around one in four pregnancies in the UK are thought to end in a miscarriage – but, the figure could be much higher. That's because the UK currently does not record miscarriages, meaning that the scale of the issue remains unknown and therefore tackling it isn’t prioritised. But all that could be about to change, as the government just announced a new initiative (as part of its newly launched Women's Health Strategy) that will see parents given "recognition" of a pregnancy loss through a certificate.

Although there's no word on whether these certificates will mean miscarriages are logged, the initiative is a welcome step in the right direction and will hopefully break down the taboo that sadly still surrounds pregnancy loss. The initiative means that pregnancy loss certificates will be given to parents in the UK who have lost a child before 24 weeks, with the aim of acknowledging the difficult situation.

The move has been praised by pregnancy loss awareness campaigners including Amy Jacksonson at the Lily Mae Foundation, which support families impacted by a baby’s death. "[We're pleased] it has finally been recognised that a child born before 24 weeks deserves the acknowledgement that any other human being receives," she told The Independent.

"To many of our families who have sadly lost a baby before 24 weeks, this small gesture will mean the world, and provide recognition that their precious baby existed," she added. "To discriminate between gestations only serves to belittle a loss before 24 weeks and we at the Lily Mae Foundation truly believe that a loss is devastating no matter what the gestation [as it represents] the loss of an entire lifetime of hopes and dreams."

Photo credit: FG Trade - Getty Images
Photo credit: FG Trade - Getty Images

The move comes after recommendations from organisations like the Miscarriage Association who previously said: "All women who experience pregnancy loss before 24 weeks gestation [should be] offered some form of certification."

Although the Miscarriage Association noted that not all parents would want a certificate – with some potentially feeling it is "inappropriate, or that it adds to their distress, or induces feelings of guilt" – it would "offer an opportunity to increase the quality of care given to women who lose a baby before the legally recognised age of viability."

According to the Miscarriage Association, receiving a pregnancy loss certificate would act as "a marker" of the parents' loss and could "bring some comfort at a difficult time."

If you're looking for support or more information about premature births, stillbirths or miscarriage, Tommy's have a free helpline 0800 0147 800 (open 9-5, Monday to Friday). There's also a Facebook group.

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