Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart has highlighted the needs of families affected by miscarriage and baby loss this Baby Loss Awareness Week, which runs from 9th– 15th October.
As many as one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage and 198 babies were stillborn in Scotland in 2020.
Families often suffer in silence, as taboos around baby loss are still prevalent.
Support organisations such as Sands and Baby Loss Retreat work to support families with counselling and peer support.
Ms Wishart has previously met with the local Sands representative, Marie Manson, and raised with Sumburgh Airport management the need for a private quiet room for people travelling to hospital in Aberdeen because of baby loss.
Ms Wishart also supported Louise Caldwell’s campaign for dedicated maternity units for women experiencing unexpected pregnancy complications, raising her campaign in the Scottish Parliament and hearing from her in the Cross Party Group on Women’s Health.
Though official guidance says separate facilities should be provided, many women experiencing miscarriage and baby loss are still treated in main labour wards.
Ms Wishart said:
“Baby Loss Awareness Week is a chance to highlight that miscarriage and baby loss affect families across Scotland every year.
“An incredibly devastating and difficult time is often made worse because of the reluctance to talk openly about baby loss, and the treatment of women experiencing baby loss in regular labour wards.
“A refurbishment of the Gilbert Bain Hospital maternity unit is due soon which will include the creation of a bereavement suite and enable the hospital to extend its care for women experiencing baby loss up to 22 weeks.
“I am pleased that Louise Caldwell’s campaign has been successful and two dedicated perinatal loss rooms will be created at Wishaw General Hospital.
“I call on the Scottish Government and Health Boards to support hospitals across Scotland to follow suit, and welcome NHS Shetland’s progress in that regard.
“My thoughts are with all those affected by baby loss.
“Bereavement support is available from Sands, which have a local Shetland group, and the NHS.”