House of Commons Library

Baby loss

Published Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This pack has been prepared ahead of the debate on baby loss to be held in the Commons Chamber on Thursday 13 October 2016. The subject for the debate has been selected by the Backbench Business Committee and the Members in charge are Antoinette Sandbach and Will Quince.

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Baby Loss Awareness Week 2016 is on 9-15 October.  This is an opportunity for those affected by baby loss to remember and commemorate their babies’ lives, and to raise awareness of this issue.  The website provides more information about the aims of the week:

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity:

  • For bereaved parents, and their families and friends, across the world to unite and commemorate their babies’ lives.
  • To raise awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK.
  • To let the public and key stakeholders know what the baby charities are doing to reduce the number of families affected and raise awareness about what support is available.

The charities leading Baby Loss Awareness Week provide support to anyone affected by pregnancy loss and the death of a baby, and work with health professionals and services to improve care. Together we are committed to raising awareness of pregnancy and baby loss which affects up to one in five families in the UK.[1]

Baby Loss Awareness week is coordinated and supported by a number of charities including Sands, the Miscarriage Association and Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC). A number of events will be taking place across the UK to mark Baby Loss Awareness week, this includes a reception in Parliament on 12 October 2016.

A Backbench Business Committee debate on Baby Loss has been tabled on Thursday 13 October 2016. The debate has been tabled by Antoinette Sandbach and Will Quince, co-chairs of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby loss.  In their submission to the Committee, they explained that they wished to keep the scope of the debate wide, allowing Members to highlight the issues they wished on this subject.

Prior to the debate, there has been a Twitter digital debate with Antoinette Sandbach and Will Quince on Monday 10 October between 2-3pm, with the hashtag #babylossdebate. Contributions to the digital debate came from both individuals discussing their personal experiences of baby loss and charities working in this area. Issues discussed included support for families, geographical variation in services and raising awareness of baby loss.  A Storify has been developed providing an overview of the digital debate:

https://storify.com/HouseOfCommons/baby-loss

This debate pack includes press and Parliamentary material and links to further reading. A number of briefings published by POST and the Commons library may also provide useful background reading prior to the debate, links to these are included below:

[1]     Baby Loss awareness week, About us [accessed 10 October 2016]

Commons Debate packs CDP-2016-0175

Authors: Nikki Sutherland; Alison Pratt; Sarah Barber

Topics: Health education and preventive medicine, Health services, Medicine, Science

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