Baby Loss Awareness Week 2023: Lives of half of UK adults have been affected by pregnancy or baby loss

Posted on October 09, 2023

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A time to remember our much-loved and missed babies, Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October) aims to break the silence and support bereaved families.

Half of UK adults, 50%, said that they, or someone they know, had experienced at least one form of pregnancy or baby loss, in response to a YouGov survey published at the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October 2023).

The survey was commissioned by an alliance of more than 130 charities led by Sands, Tommy’s, Bliss, The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, The Lullaby Trust, and The Miscarriage Association.

The most commonly mentioned type of loss in the survey was a form of miscarriage (40%), followed by stillbirth (13%), ectopic pregnancy (12%), termination for medical reasons (6%), neonatal death (5%), and molar pregnancy (2%). Survey respondents were asked to select all types of loss that applied.

Only 40% of those surveyed said they or someone they know had never experienced pregnancy loss or baby loss, while 6% answered “prefer not to say” and 4% answered “don’t know”.

A higher proportion of women (62%) said that they or someone they knew had been affected compared to men (38%).

Chief Executive of Sands, and Chair of the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance, Clea Harmer said: “This latest survey demonstrates the scale of pregnancy and baby loss across the UK. What we must remember is that behind these numbers are people who have experienced a deeply personal loss. There’s no set way to grieve or remember a pregnancy loss or the death of a baby, but what we do know is that appropriate, timely and sensitive bereavement support can be hugely beneficial.

“The percentage of women reporting they know someone affected, compared to men, suggests that there is still a stark difference between women and men talking about pregnancy and baby loss. One of the aims of Baby Loss Awareness Week is to support anyone impacted by pregnancy or baby loss to feel comfortable if they wish to speak openly about their loss, and to educate others about this subject. With so many people touched by this issue, we need to break the silence and ensure more people are supported to navigate their lives after loss.”

The charities in the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance are calling for anyone affected by pregnancy or baby loss, however recently or longer ago, to reach out and access emotional support if they need this.

On Thursday 19 October the annual parliamentary debate on baby loss will take place in the main chamber of the House of Commons. The debate will focus on progress since the Ockenden Report into maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH). It will be led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss Co-chair Helen Morgan MP, whose constituency is covered by the Trust.

The Baby Loss Awareness Alliance is calling on everyone to ask their MP to attend the debate to speak up for bereaved parents and help save babies’ lives.

Baby Loss Awareness Week activities across the UK

Throughout the Week, landmarks and buildings across the UK will be lit up pink and blue – the colours of Baby Loss Awareness Week - and people will be holding remembrance events and creating ribbon displays in their hometowns to help raise awareness of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss, remember much-loved babies and open up conversations around this issue.

The Baby Loss Awareness Week website lists a wide range of organisations that provide support booklets and resources, signposting to different types of support, as well as resources for health professionals working with and supporting bereaved families.

Baby Loss Awareness Week will culminate in a global Wave of Light at 7pm on 15 October. This is a special time when everyone is invited, wherever they are in the world, to light a candle at 7pm local time as a special mark of support and remembrance for all babies that have died, and pregnancies lost. Anyone can join a digital Wave of Light from 7pm on 15 October by posting a photo of their candle to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #WaveOfLight.

For more information visit: and follow #BLAW on social media.