Neonatal death information and support
What is a neonatal death?
A neonatal death is when a baby dies within 28 days after they are born.
If a baby dies after 24 weeks of pregnancy, but before they’re born, it is known as a stillbirth. We also have lots of information and support about stillbirth.
Why do babies die?
After the loss of a baby, it is natural to want answers about why it happened. Sometimes the answer is clear, and other times a post-mortem examination may show what happened and why. But sometimes, despite having every available test or examination, it is sadly still not possible to find out why. This can be very hard for parents.
Common causes of neonatal death
Common causes of neonatal death can include:
- premature birth (babies that are born too soon or too small are more at risk of infection or other serious health problems)
- complications during or after the birth
- congenital anomaly, such as heart or lung problems.
Support after your baby dies
The loss of a baby is devastating. We’re here to offer emotional and practical support to parents and families who are going through this experience.
Our team of expert midwives are here for you. You can call them for free on 0800 0147 800, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
If you’re not ready to talk, we have some information that may help.
At Tommy's we often hear from women and men who are bombarded with ads promoting maternity and baby products after loss, which can be really distressing. We've put together some information about how to stop pregnancy ads.
A very supportive community has built up over the last few years around pregnancy loss. There are several online communities supporting those who have gone through baby loss or preterm birth. All write movingly about their experiences of loss, life after loss and, in some cases, pregnancy and pregnancy/parenting after loss.
Pregnancy and parenting after neonatal loss
Pregnancy following the loss of a baby is likely to be an anxious time for both parents. You should have additional support from your healthcare team. Find out what to expect and how to take extra care of yourself:
There is still a lack of research into the causes of pregnancy complications and loss, and that is why our charity funds research into the causes of neonatal death, stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth.
World Health Organisation. Newborns: improving survival and well-being (2020) https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/newborns-reducing-mortality
NHS. Stillbirth. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stillbirth/ (Page last reviewed: 16 March 2021 Next review due: 16 March 2024)