A maternity bereavement journey - #LossExp

Wednesday 21st June 2017 by @JbereavementUK

Hello my name is Jane; I’m the Senior Bereavement Midwife at Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust. I coordinate the maternity bereavement services at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington and Queen Charlotte's Hospital in Hammersmith.

We have approximately 9,000 deliveries per year with an average of 160 being a combination of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, late miscarriages or medical terminations for abnormalities, all are over 20 weeks' gestation.

Very early on in my career as a labour ward midwife (a few too many moons ago)! I noticed that there were unacceptable voids in service for bereaved families and along with the Labour Ward manager I pushed for my post to be created.



In 2013 the funding was approved and I was literally given a blank sheet! I had lots of ideas! I am proud of how the service has developed across sites since then, but I felt that I needed to find out what other units were doing and compare the quality of care that was being offered across England.

The bereavement midwives I contacted didn't need much coaxing to share their work and we met at St. Mary's Hospital for the first Bereavement Midwife Forum at the end of 2015. There was an overriding feeling amongst us that the role of the Bereavement midwife would be strengthened with accredited training and standardised job descriptions and this is ongoing work. The passion of all the midwives in the room was palpable and we were all on the same page regarding our goals to improve maternity bereavement care for the families at our hospitals.

The Bereavement Midwife forum meets every 3 months and we now have over 30 members. Sands (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) actively support the forum. We swap best practice tips, resolve queries, share experiences and support each other emotionally. The forum was delighted to input their ideas and suggestions into the resource that’s been developed to hear the experiences from families who have experienced in pregnancy.

This is the resource I have had the pleasure of working with a team including Kath Evans and Donna Ockenden over the past 8 months, together with Sands and families we’ve developed a questionnaire to gather the thoughts of bereaved parents about the care they received during their time in hospital. The work also includes a guide for healthcare professionals on how to use the feedback tool at a local level. Please do download the Maternity Bereavement Experience Measure questionnaire and resource and consider how you can use it in your practice.

I am really excited and optimistic about the future care for the families that are dealt one of life's most catastrophic blows. The introduction of Petals, a trauma and bereavement counselling service at Imperial College has been without a doubt one of the best additions to the care we provide. 

I’ve also just started tweeting, so all followers appreciated! You can follow me at @JBereavementUK

This is me at the Houses of Parliament where I was able to attend the All Party Political Group for Baby Loss (APPG) led by Antoinette Sandbache and Will Quince MP's. The concern and drive at this level to standardise care for bereaved families which is massively encouraging. 


Please feel free to post in to this blog; you'll need to be logged in via twitter from the top right of the menu to post.
{{Comment.DateCreated | date:"dd MMMM yyyy HH:mm"}}

  • Follow us