Local Maternity System

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Pregnancy journey

If your unborn baby dies 

When a baby has died, parents often feel overwhelmed by their sadness, with the days and weeks following the death bewildering and difficult. You and your family will be given support by your midwives and doctors at this time.

The question that every parent wishes to have answered is ‘why did my baby die?’. It is not always possible to give an answer but a cause is found about 50% of the time. A baby dying before birth occurs in one in every 200 pregnancies.

The most common reason for a baby dying in the womb is because the baby has not been growing properly. There are other causes, including infection, abnormal development of the baby, diabetes, early separation of the placenta and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in your urine).

Your doctor will discuss with you and your partner the different options of when and how to have your baby. The advice will depend on your general health, your pregnancy and any previous birth experiences, and also your personal wishes.

When your baby is born you will be given additional support by the midwives and doctors looking after you, who know that giving birth is going to be a distressing experience for you and your family.

A member of staff will talk to you and your partner about the funeral choices for your baby, and about registering the birth if your baby was born at or after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. 

You will be offered tests for you and your baby that may help to find out why your baby has died. Finding a cause could help with planning your care in a future pregnancy. A follow-up appointment with your obstetrician will be arranged to discuss the results of the tests. 

If you decide to have another baby, you will usually be under consultant care (seen by a consultant obstetrician as well as midwives) and will be seen early in your pregnancy. You will usually have extra antenatal appointments as you will understandably be anxious. You will be given additional support by the doctors and midwives looking after you throughout your pregnancy, who will be aware of your previous loss. The precise pattern of your care will be influenced by the results of any tests and whether a cause has been found for the death of your baby - please remember that you can ask for more information or support if you want it. 

Resources to inform and support are linked to below: 

2019-07-03 (7)

Your baby is now officially an embryo and is about the size of a poppy seed.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/4-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (4)

Your baby is now the size of a kidney bean and weighs 1g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/8-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (6)

Welcome to the second trimester!

Your baby is about the size of a small lime and weighs approximately 14g.

You have hopefully seen your midwife for your 'booking in' appointment, if you have not yet seen a midwife please make an appointment quickly, so you can have all of your choices about screening tests explained and offered to you.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/12-weeks-pregnant/ for more information. You can also link to the 'Pregnancy Journey' area here.  


Your baby is about the size of an avocado and weighs approximately 100g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/16-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (2)

Your baby has grown in length and is now the length of a small banana and weighs approximately 300g. Around this time you will be offered your '20 week' scan, also known as the 'anatomy' or 'anomaly' scan.Click here for more information about screening. 

This is a also a good time to talk and sing to your bump as your baby can now hear sounds. This is great way for you and your partner/family to bond with your baby.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/20-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (8)

Your baby has grown again to the approximate length of an ear of sweetcorn and weighs about 600g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/24-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (1)

Welcome to the third trimester!

Your baby is now approximately the weight of an aubergine; about 1kg and approximately 37cm in length. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/28-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (3)

Your baby now weighs approximately the same as a coconut; around 1.5kg. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/32-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (5)

Your baby is now around the same size as a lettuce, approximately 47cm long and weighs around 2.6kg. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/36-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (9)

Your baby is now the weight of a small watermelon which is approximately 3.3kg and around 50cm in length. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/40-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.