Special Birth Issues
Losing a Baby
A small number of parents lose their baby through a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or other misfortune. These events may bring emotions of grief, guilt, and despair, and can be difficult to handle. You may feel very sad and empty and have problems being around other pregnant women and mothers with babies. This is normal.
If your baby is stillborn, or dies near birth, you will have the opportunity to see and hold your baby. If you feel comfortable, take pictures of the baby alone or cuddled with you and your partner. Talk with your baby and say goodbye. Take your time. Don’t let your baby go until you feel ready. Many women find this helps with their grieving, but this is your choice.
Mementos of your baby will be offered to you – things such as footprints, a baby blanket, bracelets, or a lock of hair. You may not be able to look at them or you may think you don’t want them, but this may change over time. You may wish to put them away for a while.
Knowing where to turn for help is important. Your health care provider can give you information, help you make difficult decisions and possibly set up counselling or referrals. Help is also available from the hospital social worker, chaplain, and nurses.
You will need physical and psychological postpartum care in hospital and in the community. In addition to emotional support, you may need help dealing with engorged breasts and a sore perineum. After you leave the hospital, your health care provider, the public health nurse, local crisis centre, and others who have been in a similar situation, can help.
The loss of a baby is difficult for both you and your partner. Being patient with each other helps. Men and women often react differently to losing a baby and time helps. Seek professional help.
Having a Baby after a Pregnancy Loss
If you have had a baby die in pregnancy and are now pregnant again, know that it is normal to be anxious. It is also normal to need to hear many times that your baby is doing well. Talk about your concerns with your health care provider. Also talk about your wishes for this birth. Some women may feel detached during the labour of a pregnancy following a stillbirth. If you experience emotional difficulty after the birth of your baby, contact your health care provider or public health nurse.