What is a stillbirth?
When a baby dies after 24 weeks of pregnancy and before or during birth, it is known as a stillbirth.
The loss of a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy is classed as a miscarriage. However, this is simply terminology for legal purposes. Many mums who have a late miscarriage also give birth to their baby and, understandably, feel that it should be called a stillbirth.
In 2018, there were 2,943 stillbirths in the UK. This means that 1 in every 250 births ended in a stillbirth. That's 8 babies every day. Our research into the causes of stillbirth is as vital as ever.
Much of the supportive information below is relevant to all parents suffering from the death of a baby in late pregnancy, however we also have support and advice on miscarriage here.
- Causes of stillbirth
- Preventing stillbirth
- Stillbirth symptoms and risks
- Read more stillbirth statistics here.
Support after a stillbirth
Stillbirth is one of the most devastating experiences any family can go through. We are here to support families who are going through this very difficult time. We have worked with women who have experienced stillbirth, their families and professionals who have supported them to develop supportive information below to help parents who have suffered a stillbirth.
Emotional support for parents
If you would like to talk to a midwife about any aspect of stillbirth or afterwards, the midwives on the Tommy's advice line have experience in talking about pregnancy loss and have had bereavement training. Phone 0800 0147 800. The line is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.
- Giving birth to a stillborn baby - what to expect
- Spending time with your stillborn baby
- Creating memories of your stillborn baby
- Coping with grief - for parents
- Supporting each other as a couple
- Coping with the physical effects of a stillbirth
- Supporting your baby's siblings
- Returning to work after a stillbirth
Emotional support for others
Family, friends and colleagues of those who have suffered a stillbirth watch helplessly, while also often dealing with their own grief. These pages below offer support.
- Advice and support for grandparents
- How to support a friend or family member who has suffered a stillbirth
- How to support someone at work who has suffered a stillbirth
When your baby dies, you will be given lots of information and there will be practicalities to take care of. When you’re shocked and distressed, this can be particularly difficult to manage and you might struggle to digest the information and understand what’s happening next.
- Deciding whether or not to have a post mortem
- Registering your baby
- Planning the funeral
- Medical terms and definitions
- Rights and benefits
- Your postnatal care
A very supportive community has built up over the last few years around pregnancy loss. There are lots of 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.
"When my son was stillborn, I couldn’t find anything to read about the mum’s personal experiences and what to expect... I needed something real, something I could relate to." Hannah Pontillo