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When stillbirth happens

Being told your baby has died in the womb is one of the most devastating things that can happen.

When a baby is delivered after 24 weeks or more of pregnancy and is not alive, this is known as a stillbirth.

This is different to a miscarriage, which is the loss of baby during the first 23 weeks.

Around 300 babies die by stillbirth every year in Ireland.

The death of your baby before birth can have a huge effect not only on you, but also on family and friends. You may be asked to make important decisions. This can be extremely difficult at such an emotional time.

Emotions that you experience can include disbelief, anger, guilt and grief. It is quite common to think you can hear your baby crying.

Your healthcare team is there to support you through this bereavement. They will give information to help you to make an informed choice.

Advice for parents:

  • Spend as much time as you need to with your baby.
  • Do not feel pressurised into doing anything you are not comfortable with.
  • Give yourself time. You need to grieve. Everyone grieves in their own way. This may be a longer or shorter period of time for different people.

Page last reviewed: 28/03/2019
Next review due: 28/03/2022