Sensitive, thoughtful care cannot take away the pain of parents’ loss, but it may provide some comfort in the months and years to come. Establishing care pathways should prevent care being uncoordinated which can have adverse effects at a time when parents and in particular women are very vulnerable.

Research confirms that good care can affect parents' long-term wellbeing and may prevent the need for costly intervention later (SANDS 2010). In addition, evidence shows that listening to parents about the care they receive around the time of their baby's death is extremely important (RCOG, 2006).

To adapt a regional approach to care, the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) developed a Care-Plan (2006) to facilitate and promote quality care for all women who experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. This care-plan summarises the principles of best practice, based on clinical and professional guidance.

Medical and Midwifery Colleagues from the DHSSPS and Trusts believe that the time is right to review the current care-plan and to agree locally the development of a Regional Bereavement Care Pathway/s for Women who experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

In Partnership with the DHSSPS, NIPEC took forward a project to review current practices and provide up to date guidance to health professionals caring for those women and their families who have experienced a pregnancy loss at any gestational age.

The pathways and guidance were announced by the Health Minister in October 2014, they have been through a period of extensive testing and consultation. And are now ready for use.

The bereavement care pathways are now available to order via procurement.

The pathways are available as stock order items:

WPH000888 Pathway 1 Pregnancy loss up to 12 weeks
WPH000889 Pathway 2 Pregnancy loss pathway for Intrauterine death (miscarriage) between 12-20 weeks
WPH000890 Pathway 3 Core care pathway for all babies after 20 weeks
WPH000891 Pathway 3a Baby born 20-24 weeks without signs of life (late fetal loss)
WPH000892 Pathway 3b Baby born greater than 24 weeks without signs of life (Stillborn)
WPH000893 Pathway 3c Baby born at any gestation with signs of life, who then dies
WPH000894 Pathway 4 Neonatal Death of a baby of any gestation, in the first 28 days of life or in a neonatal unit

The accompanying updated Regional Bereavement Guidance on Evidence based, holistic care of parents and their families after the experience of miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death is available to download by clicking here.

The care pathways and guidance will be reviewed towards the end of 2016 when there has been time to assess their use in clinical practice. Any queries or clarification about the project, please contact Brenda Devine using the contact details shown at the bottom of this page.

Go to Regional Bereavement Guidance documents


Fiona Bradley
Senior Professional Officer
Tel : 0300 300 0066