As a health care professional you may have patients who have experienced the loss of a baby before, during, or after birth. We offer information and resources here to help professionals like you recognize and understand the emotional toll that such a loss takes.
Download HAND’s Brochure to view the Services and Support we provide.
Parents (and often grandparents and other relatives) who have experienced a pregnancy loss or the loss of an infant have the following very special needs.
- Need to grieve
- Need for affirmation
- Need for reassurance
How to offer your support:
• Provide words of comfort and aid
Words that may help:
“I know that this is a bad time for you…”
“Is there anything that I can do for you…?”
“Is there someone who would be helpful to you that I can call…?”
Words that are not helpful:
“Forget it… put it behind you…”
“You can have other children.”
“Would have been abnormal anyway.”
“It was for the best.”
“You’re lucky to be alive.”
“Dispose of the remains.”
“He/she is an angel in heaven.”
• Provide information
Side effects of medication
Possible aching arms
Possible chest pains
Possible heart palpitations
Difficulty seeing pregnant women
Anniversary of birth and death can be hard
• Offer choices
To see and hold the baby
To name the baby
Baptism or religious service
Siblings and grandparents visiting
A choice between maternity or being moved to another ward
Options for a funeral or memorial service
Help creating mementos
- Lock of hair
- Hospital blanket
- Hospital bracelet
- Making footprints
- Birth and death certificates
- Baptismal certificate
- Click here for information on obtaining Certified Copies of Fetal Death & Still Birth Records from the California Department of Public Health
- Contact Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Remembrance Photography for free photography from trained and sensitive professional photographers who are experienced in working with parents suffering the loss of a baby.
HAND of the Bay Area Services
We offer these services to grieving parents and their families, volunteers, and health care professionals. There are no fees for HAND services.
- Peer support groups
- Telephone support
- Resource information
- HAND Brochure to view services and support we provide English | En español
- HAND volunteer trainings
- Presentations for healthcare and mental health providers
Grieving parents may feel a sense of emptiness for months or longer after the delivery or loss.
Grief about losing a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or other reasons can be as intense as the death of any other family member.
All parents must feel free to express their love for the baby they have lost.
Fathers need opportunities to express their grief in their own way.
Parents often need help in talking with their other children about the baby’s death.
Grandparents often grieve for their grandchild, and may find it difficult to deal with their own child’s pain.
Family members and friends often find it hard to talk about the baby, and inappropriate remarks may cause further grief.
Seeing pregnant women and babies is often painful for months after the loss of a baby.
Anniversaries of the baby’s birth and death can bring back parents’ feelings of grief and loss.
Anxiety about a subsequent pregnancy can require extra emotional support. Parents may feel strongly attached to or overanxious about their next-born children.
- Click to download Bay Area Pregnancy Loss & Infant Death Support Groups.
- Click to download HAND’s Helpful Websites.
ASIP: The Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs (ASIP, formerly ASPP, Association of SIDS Program Professionals) is an association of health and human service providers committed to bereavement support and risk reduction activities. ASIP promotes programs of counseling, education, advocacy, and research to ensure a supportive community response for those affected by infant and child death and to reduce the risk of death for future children.
NFIMR: NFIMR is a resource center providing information and advice about implementing the fetal and infant mortality review (FIMR) method. FIMR is both an on-going community needs assessment and a mechanism to improve health status of women and infants. The resource center provides information on topics such as confidentiality, liability, data collection, home interview techniques, coalition building, taking recommendations to action, coordinating with other local mortality reviews, and using local FIMR information for regional/state assessment and planning. Referrals to expert consultants are available. NFIMR is a collaborative effort between the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
NLM/NIH Pregnancy Loss: A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, this page provides information on pregnancy loss.
NLM/NIH SIDS: A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, this page provides information on SIDS.
SHARE: SHARE is a not-for-profit nondenominational organization providing support to those whose lives are touched by the tragic death of a baby through early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or newborn death.
Compassionate Friends: The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.
MISS: MISS is a nonprofit, volunteer based organization committed to providing emergency support to families in crisis after the death of their baby or young child from any cause. We are here to help families cope with the resultant feelings of overwhelming grief and loss.