People affected by pregnancy and baby loss and their families are being given an opportunity to find out more about Walsall’s maternity bereavement services and the support available.
Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9-15 October and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust maternity staff will be available to talk about local support for women and parents who have suffered a miscarriage, a stillbirth, neonatal death, sudden infant death or termination of pregnancy due to fetal abnormalities.
As well as a display in Walsall Manor Hospital’s Costa Coffee on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 October the trust’s Bereavement Midwife Keira Cockerton be there between 12noon and 1pm on both days to answer any questions about maternity bereavement services. And on Monday 14 October SANDS – the stillbirth and neonatal death charity – will be in the main atrium of the hospital from 10am until 2pm. Keira will also be there in the afternoon until 3.30pm and a cake sale will be held to raise funds for maternity bereavement services.
Keira said: “Baby Loss Awareness Week is a chance for those affected by pregnancy and baby loss and their families and friends to unite with others to commemorate these lost lives and pregnancies.
“It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss and what charities and other organisations are doing to provide support and drive change. Working together we can push for improvements; in particular improvements in bereavement care and support, and a reduction in the incidence of pregnancy and baby loss.
“Here in Walsall we were a pilot site for the implementation of the National Bereavement Care Pathway which was launched in 2017. The NBCP seeks to increase the quality of and reduce inequity in the bereavement care provided by healthcare professionals after the loss of a baby or pregnancy at any gestation.
We have a dedicated Bereavement Midwife in post to lead the development of our Bereavement services. The Bereavement Midwife helps to provide emotional support to women, their partners and their families and to signpost them to organisations that can offer further counselling and support, such as WPH Counselling and SANDS.
We support our families as best we can so that they can make memories with their baby. We use specially designed cuddlecots and cold cots that have either been donated directly to us or have been purchased by funds donated to us so that families can maximise the time they spend with their baby. We provide families with memory boxes (donated by 4 Louis), we offer parents an in-house photography service and work with the charity Remember my Baby to provide parents with photographs taken by professional photographers who volunteer their services for free.”
Keira added that training was also being developed for midwives and other healthcare professionals who care for women who have experienced a pregnancy loss so that they also feel supported and confident to deliver good quality care.
“So far this year we have had three in house bereavement study days and we have an RCM-accredited study day to be delivered by SANDS later this month.
“We work closely with Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity which has seen a number of donations come into maternity bereavement services from generous and thoughtful fundraisers as well as national and other local charities such as WPH Counselling, SANDS, 4 Louis, Remember my Baby and the Teddy Rose Foundation.”