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International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Clinical negligence solicitor Despina Kavadas discusses how charities and MPs are raising awareness about the issues surrounding baby loss

pregnant woman having drip inserted
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Despina is an experienced medical negligence solicitor who has specialised in this field since qualifying in 2002.
October is the International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Tomorrow will be the last day of Baby Loss Awareness Week which many people will mark by the lighting of a candle in the Global Wave of Light. I am a clinical negligence solicitor who has acted for parents who have lost their babies through avoidable stillbirth or neonatal death. The impact of the loss of a baby cannot be underestimated. Stillbirths are a taboo subject. Charities have worked tirelessly to try and raise awareness about the issues surrounding baby loss in the UK and continue to do so.

A film is currently being screened nationwide called “Still Loved” which aims to explain the impact of stillbirth and thus further highlight the issue.

Yesterday MPs took part in a general debate on baby loss in the House Of Commons Chamber. MPs shared their own personal stories and those of their constituents about baby loss. The debate identified many issues which needed to be tackled such as bereavement counselling and mental health, the provision of bereavement suites and/or a dedicated area on maternity wards for bereaved parents, registration of stillbirths, better monitoring during pregnancies and labour, proper and independent investigations into baby loss by NHS Trusts, the interrelation between NHS Trusts and local councils, the need for effective communication on wards to avoid a bereaved parent being asked where their baby is, and quite simply the need to treat parents with sensitivity. As one MP pointed out, "kindness doesn't cost a thing". I hope that this debate, together with the various initiatives and campaigns related to maternity care (mbrrace, saving babies' lives, better births) will break the silence, raise awareness and ensure that changes are made in the provision of NHS maternity services to reduce, if not prevent, baby loss and to improve the support and provision for those who suffer the pain of losing a baby.
    

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