When pregnancy doesn’t go to plan
Pregnancy and giving birth to a baby is generally safer now than ever before, but unfortunately, it does not always go to plan and have the happy ending that has been planned and hoped for. This can be a very sad and difficult time for families who are faced with the unexpected loss of the baby they expected.
Here at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, we have a team of Midwives, Support workers and Doctors to help and support you through this difficult time.
Bereavement; the loss of an expected pregnancy or baby
For the majority of women and their families, pregnancy is a happy time and welcomes a new life into the world. However, sometimes complications develop during pregnancy, anomalies are identified or a baby dies before or just after birth, and this time can be one of loss, grief and bereavement.
We recognise the huge impact that this has on women and their families, and while we can’t take away the pain of loss, we endeavour to support our families as much as we can. We have a named Bereavement Specialist Midwife – Kathryn Sansby. Kathryn is based in the antenatal well-being unit in Antenatal Clinic in Burnley.
Kathryn works alongside the team in the fetal medicine unit, offering support as needed to women and families facing difficult pregnancies, and the choices and decisions they may need to make. She also works on Central Birth Suite as needed, supporting women and families through the birth of their baby following a pregnancy loss, ending a pregnancy for medical reasons or providing palliative care alongside Derian House.
Support is offered as needed in the immediate postnatal period, signposting families to bereavement services and counselling, and keeping in touch during the hospital review processes following the death of a baby.
Care is offered to women in our 2 bereavement suites on central birth suites. These are quiet rooms, with bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area, providing families with a space to spend time together, and time with their baby as they wish.
Our Neonatal Unit also has a team of bereavement nurses, and a bereavement suite on the unit, for families with baby’s being cared for on NICU.
For many families, creating memories of their baby and spending time with them is an integral part of their care in their journey. However, this is a very personal choice, and there are no rights or wrongs, or should or should nots, and our care will reflect individual wishes. Cold cots are available for parents to keep their baby with them if they wish, and we have cameras and memory cards available for families to use, hand and footprint kits, teddy bears and memory boxes available for our families if they wish.
We are very fortunate to have the support of several local charities:- Friends of Serenity, Maggie Pearl’s Legacy, Aching Arms, 4 Louis, SANDS and Nadia and Paul. These are all families who have experienced baby loss, and continue to support other families in our community, and provide us with bereavement resources.
We have Remembrance books in the Chapels in Burnley and Blackburn, and memory books in our bereavement suites. Our Spiritual Centre Team are also available, offering multi-faith support to anyone who would like it.
Each year we hold a Remembrance Service on the last Sunday in October, which anyone is welcome to attend.
Following the loss or death of a baby, Women and partners have the option of attending he hospital to see a consultant to discuss events and care during pregnancy and birth, or any care in NICU. Any tests or investigations that took place, and any post mortem results can be discussed at this appointment. This can take up to 12-14 weeks to happen, due to the length of time for these to be completed. During this time, you will be provided with ah named contact to speak to about further concerns or needs during this time.
Care in future pregnancies
We have an early pregnancy reassurance clinic in place, offering early scans and support in the early stages of pregnancy. This is currently suspended due to COVID-19, but this care is being offered in Antenatal clinic and can be accessed by contacting the Bereavement midwife.
Pre-term Birth Clinic
Our pre-term birth clinic is now running, and in particular, offering care in early pregnancy to women who experienced pregnancy loss or the death of their baby due to premature labour. This monitors women women closely, and aims to prevent recurrence in future pregnancies.
In June 2019, ELHT Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic was launched after it was recognised that there is a need for specialised care for bereaved parents in subsequent pregnancy. Women require tailored care based upon a sound understanding of their enhanced medical, emotional and psychosocial needs. The trust had always provided care in subsequent pregnancies after loss, but it had previously been fragmented. After listening to families about the impact this had, the Rainbow clinic was created.
The Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic team is a multi-disciplinary team comprised of Lead Consultant Obstetrician and Rainbow Midwife, who work with women and their partners to provide specialist clinical and holistic care for women in pregnancies following late miscarriage, stillbirth and early neonatal death. It aims to provide continuity of care within a multidisciplinary team. Specialist ultrasound scans during pregnancy are offered, including a 23 week placental screen and regular growth scans. Frequencies of follow-up appointments are tailored to an individual patient need, along with discussion around birth. Women also benefit from a separate waiting room away from the main waiting area.
Rainbow Fetal Medicine Clinic
The fetal medicine unit offers care to a number of women, but also offers care to women who have had a previous pregnancy loss or death of a baby due to congenital anomalies. It is recognised that these women and their partners also require specialist care, and we are currently in the process of mirroring the Rainbow clinic model of care for women who need fetal medicine care and setting up a Rainbow fetal medicine clinic.
Contact numbers and advice
Kathryn Sansby, Tel; 07595090617, email – Kathryn.email@example.com
Rainbow Clinic midwife
Julie McNevin Duff, Tel; 01282 804487
Fetal medicine Midwife
Maria Williamson, Tel; 01282 805665
Friends of Serenity
Also on Facebook and Twitter
Maggie Pearl’s Legacy
Charity for miscarriage and pregnancy loss
Baby loss counselling charity
Antenatal results and Choices
East Lancashire Hospice
Offers bereavement counselling
Offers bereavement counselling