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It's not something you plan for, but some women lose their babies through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or other misfortune. This loss can be devastating; it's important to seek help if you need it.
Losing a baby may bring grief, guilt and despair. You may feel empty and have problems being around pregnant women and mothers with babies. These feelings are 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 - it is your choice.
Mementos of your baby will be offered to you - 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 could change over time. You might want to put them away for a while.
Knowing where to turn for help is important. Your healthcare provider can give you information, guide you through difficult decisions and possibly set up counseling or referrals. Help is also available from the hospital social worker, chaplain and nurses.
You will need physical and psychological postpartum care in the hospital and in the community. In addition to emotional support, you may require assistance in dealing with engorged breasts and a sore perineum. After you leave the hospital, your healthcare provider, the public health nurse, local crisis centre and others who have been in similar situations can help.
Losing a baby will affect your partner too, and may affect your relationship. Be patient with each other. Different people often react differently to losing a baby and the passage of time can be healing. You can both benefit from seeking professional help.
Having a Baby After a Pregnancy Loss
If you've had a baby die during pregnancy and are now pregnant again, know that it is normal to be anxious and need reassurance that your baby is doing well. Talk about your concerns and hopes for this birth with your health care provider. After a stillbirth, some women may feel detached during a new pregnancy. If you experience these feelings, contact your health care provider or public health nurse.