Training & Education

Resources & Further Information

Support for you

Bereavement care can be professionally and emotionally challenging for staff in any setting.

Sands is here to support anyone affected by pregnancy loss and baby death, including healthcare staff, volunteers and workplace professionals.

 

Call our helpline if you would like to talk someone in confidence.

 

The Sands helpline also provides information and guidance so please do call if you require assistance when working with a bereaved parent, or family.

Telephone:

0808 164 3332

Email:

helpline@sands.org.uk

Tools for practice

logo of NBCP England

National Bereavement Care Pathway (NCBP)

The NBCP is designed to ensure anyone who experiences pregnancy loss or baby death receives the best possible care.

Parental engagement in review resources

A suite of resources to help engage parents during a review or investigation process.

Sands post mortem consent package

One important way to increase post mortem rates is to improve the quality of the consent process. The Sands Post Mortem Consent Package improves the consent process for both bereaved parents and professionals.

an image of Sands memory box content

Memory boxes

A Sands memory box is a tool for high quality bereavement care, our boxes help parents and families establish a bond with their baby.

Bereavement support app

Making bereavement support and information and support easily accessible for families and the professionals who care for them.

Bereavement support book

A guide for parents and families who have experienced the death of their baby. Available in Urdu, Arabic, Polish, Mandarin, Bengali, Portuguese, Punjabi, Hindi and Welsh.

engaging parents in review

Sands post mortem consent package

One important way to increase post mortem rates is to improve the quality of the consent process. The Sands Post Mortem Consent Package improves the consent process for both bereaved parents and professionals.

Reading List

These books have been recommended by some of the bereaved parents we work with. They provide insight into the experience of baby loss.

Books to read with children

  • In the Stars, Sam Kitson
  • Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine, Winston’s Wish
  • Where are You Lydie?, Emma Poore
  • The invisible string, Patrice Karst
  • Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining death to young children, Doris Stickney

If you have any book recommendations that you would like to add to this list, please contact us with your suggestions.

References

  • Boyle et al. 2020. Clinical practice guidelines for perinatal bereavement care—An overview. Women and Birth. 33. 207-210.
  • Campbell, H.E. et al. 2017. Healthcare and wider societal implications of stillbirth: a population-based cost-of-illness study. BJOG International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
  • Ellis, A. 2016. Systematic review to understand and improve care after stillbirth: a review of parents’ and healthcare professionals’ experiences. Pregnancy and Childbirth. 16:16.
  • Garcia, R. et al, 2020. A qualitative study exploring the experiences of bereavement after stillbirth in Pakistani, Bangladeshi and white British mothers living in Luton, UK. Midwifery. 91.
  • Hughes et al. 2013. Perinatal bereavement care: Are we meeting families’ needs? British Journal of Midwifery. VOL:21.4. 248-253.
  • Kingdon, C. et al. 2019. Inequalities and stillbirth in the UK: a meta-narrative review. British Journal of Midwifery Open 2019;9:e029672
  • Murphy, S. et al. 2017. The psychological, social, and economic impact of stillbirth on families. Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine 22:129e134.
  • Pollock et al. 2020. Pregnancy after loss during the COVID19 pandemic. Women and Birth. 33.540-543.
  • Riggs, D. et al. 2020 Men, trans/masculine, and non-binary people’s experiences of pregnancy loss: an international qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (2020) 20:482
  • Shakespeare, C. et al. 2020. The RESPECT Study for consensus on global bereavement care after stillbirth. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 149.137-147.
  • Smith et al. 2020. Parents’ experiences of care following the loss of a baby at the margins between miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death: a UK qualitative study. International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Online.
  • Volgsten, H. et al 2018, Longitudinal study of emotional experiences, grief and depressive symptoms in women and men after miscarriage. Midwifery 64 (2018) 23–28
  • Quenby, S. et al. 2021. Miscarriage matters: the epidemiological, physical, psychological, and economic costs of early pregnancy loss. The Lancet. 397:10285:1658-1667.
  • Hackett, J. et al. 2022. ‘It was like an airbag, it cushioned the blow’: A multi-site qualitative study of bereaved parents’ experiences of using cooling facilities. Palliative Medicine – SAGE Journals. Online

A note on language:
Some bereaved people find terms such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and termination upsetting, others will use these terms freely. To avoid any additional distress, always mirror the language used by the bereaved person you are speaking to.

Baby Loss Terminology

Baby Loss is a general term used around the world to describe the various experiences of pregnancy loss and the death of a baby.

The length of pregnancy or cause of death does not dictate the depth of grief felt by parents and families.  In the UK, the length of pregnancy does have legal implications in respect of registration of birth and applicable statutory entitlements.  The legal definitions of baby loss are:   

Miscarriage, including molar and ectopic pregnancy: Pregnancy loss before 24 weeks of pregnancy 

Stillbirth: death of a baby before or during birth, after 24 weeks of pregnancy 

Neonatal death:  is when a baby dies shortly after birth, including those born before 24 weeks of pregnancy 

Termination for medical reasons (TFMR): when a pregnancy is ended because a baby is diagnosed with a  medical condition. This can be at any stage of pregnancy, therefore legally defined as a miscarriage or stillbirth, depending on the length of the pregnancy

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI):  death of a baby when there is no apparent cause of death