Facing the unknown on the neonatal unit

It is likely that you will be thinking about the future, and how this start to your baby’s life will affect them. You are at the beginning of your journey.

This section can answer some of the questions you might have about the next steps.

Wanting to know what will happen next

Health professionals will work with you and your baby every day to get more information about how they are doing. Each day will bring more information about what care your baby will need.

You will probably want to know when you can take your baby home. This can be really hard for families, as they want to start their lives together at home.

It is very hard to know how long your baby will need to stay in hospital, or what care they might need, at this early stage.

You will always be kept up to date about changes in your baby’s condition, how they are responding to their care and if they might be ready to go home.

You can always ask for more information, or for someone to explain anything that you are not sure about.


Sadly, some babies who are born needing care in a neonatal unit do not survive. This is devastating for families, and can be one of the hardest times they will ever face.

The unit staff will always work closely with families who are facing a bereavement, supporting them to spend time with and caring for their baby in the way that is right for them.

A number of charities provide specialist support for families who have experienced a neonatal death. These include Sands and Child Bereavement UK. You can find out more on their websites – sands.org.uk and childbereavementuk.org

Units should also have a bereavement nurse who can provide support at this time.

Coping with bereavement

Information to help families get through the first days, weeks and months after their baby dies.
Read more

The information in this section is due for review May 2021