This section provides details of support available to women, partners and families who have lost a baby or pregnancy, as well as those caring for babies with illnesses requiring neonatal care.
Having a baby is, for many, a safe and uncomplicated process. However, some women unfortunately experience problems during pregnancy and birth and it is important to highlight the emotional impact of these experiences.
Leeds Maternity Care has specialist midwives and bereavement midwives who can provide practical and emotional support following miscarriage from 14 weeks and stillbirth. They also work closely with the Leeds Fetal Medicine Unit to help expectant parents when there is an identified congenital problem or complication with the baby in the womb. Support may be around decision-making about continuing or terminating the pregnancy on medical grounds, help for feelings of losing a healthy pregnancy or concerns about the baby’s prognosis and future.
The Leeds Centre for Newborn Care at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’ Hospital provide medical and surgical input for babies born early or small, who have congenital difficulties or who become ill at birth with problems like infection. It is understandable for parents whose baby/ babies are being cared for on the neonatal ward to feel overwhelmed. The team recognises it is an emotionally vulnerable time for many. Parents can access the ward-based Neonatal Psychology Service to help them talk through their thoughts and feelings in relation to their baby’s health, development and future.
Whilst it is rare, some babies do sadly die following birth. Neonatal death impacts heavily on parents, siblings and families and responses to loss, grief and bereavement are unique to every individual. Support is available via the specialist bereavement midwifery service and local Children’s Hospices, such as Martin House, which also provide referral details.