Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017

Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017

Every year since 2002, in the UK, between the 9th and the 15th October, the renowned charity Sands, the ‘Stillbirth and neonatal death charity’, in collaboration with 40 other leading UK charities, recognises, ‘Baby Loss Awareness Week.’

The week is a dedicated opportunity internationally, for parents, their families and friends not only to acknowledge and commemorate the lives of precious babies who have died, but equally to unite with others in similar circumstances. It also aims to raise awareness about pregnancy and baby loss in the UK; to pursue improvements in support services and research, and to improve ‘policy’ regarding bereavement assistance.

Furthermore, it is a demonstration to key stakeholders as to the progress of ongoing and past efforts in achieving the aims surrounding bereavement support relating to pregnancy and baby loss.

In recent years, the campaign has helped in tackling situations such as: breaking the silence about pregnancy loss; asking people experiencing a loss to share the helpful things that their friends and family have said, as well as encouraging supporters to spread the message that, while pregnancy loss is a very upsetting experience, it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.

This year, the campaign focuses on a need for improved bereavement care for families affected by pregnancy and baby loss in a poignant aim to heighten awareness for the standard of care required for anyone who has lost a baby - before, during or after birth.

The standard of care in the UK apparently varies widely between different regions. Bereavement care training is mandatory in less than half of NHS Trusts and Health Boards, which means that only 66% of Trusts and Health Boards, have a dedicated bereavement room for infant loss purposes in any of their maternity units.
This has seemingly resulted in families not receiving ‘good’ or effective bereavement support in numerous cases and sometimes, actually receiving none of the important time or care-help considered necessary by professionals.

At the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter – part of the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, when designing the maternity ward, a purpose-built area was incorporated called the ‘Heartsease Room’. This suite is removed from the day-to-day operations area in order to be more sensitive to baby loss situations. It incorporates special rooms where parents and families can spend time with their babies. The rooms have ‘cuddle cots’ specifically designed to enable parents and families to spend as much time with their baby as they wish. The maternity staff are highly trained with specific skills to enable greater support for families experiencing baby loss.

Sands is amongst numerous UK charities participating in Baby Loss Awareness Week who believe that there should be high quality bereavement support services and care available for people wherever they live in the UK. Everyone should have the chance to have the support they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it.

Events will be taking place all over the UK from 9th – 15th October 2017. Full details can be found at:


Baby Loss Awareness Day started on October 15th 2002 in the UK. From its early inception, initiated by a group of parents inspired by Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States, the sale of handmade blue and pink ribbon pins raised several thousand pounds for UK organisations supporting bereaved parents.

The 2003 the campaign saw the day expanded to a week with events across the UK.
The very first official ‘Wave of Light’ service (see below) in the UK was held at the American Church in London and was attended by representatives and members of each participating organisation. There were also services held across the UK from Scotland to Surrey. Once again, the ribbon pins were made and sold by bereaved parents.

The 2004 campaign was a more formal collaboration between the five organisations involved which included Sands, the Miscarriage Association, the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, ARC and
The ribbon pins were commercially manufactured and balloon releases were held in several locations. The group organised a secular service at the Royal Statistical Society in London and there were over twenty other events around the UK.

In 2006 the distinctive two-colour ribbon was introduced and the ribbon pins were once again made by bereaved parents with the help of their family and friends.

Since 2010 Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, has played a pivotal role within the organisation of the week and since 2014 has taken a lead role to promote the week as part of its work raising awareness of the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK.   (Source: Baby Loss Awareness Week -

The event has now become global.

The ‘Wave of Light’ service officially concludes each annual ‘awareness week.’ It is an opportunity to join with bereaved parents, families and friends around the globe to commemorate all babies who sadly died too soon by lighting a candle at 7.00 p.m. (local time) on the 15th October and to leave it burning for at least 1 hour in order to remember all the babies that have died too soon.
If you would like to support the Wave of Light service, please take a photo of your candle and ‘post it’ to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using: #WaveOfLight at 7.00 p.m. (local time) on the 15th October 2017.

For more information about Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017, please use the information below:

•    Telephone: 020 3897 6092
•    Email:
•    Website:
•    Website:
(Please use the search box for specific information e.g. Wave of Light.)

Both Carolyn Woolcock of Exmouth and District Funeral Services and Matthew Key of Shoobridge Funeral Services, last week completed Infant loss training provided by the Foundation of Infant Loss, enabling greater understanding, improved awareness and better care for those affected by infant loss. 


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