What does a bereavement midwife do?
A bereavement midwife primarily supports parents following the devastating loss of their baby. It is about listening to the needs of the parents and supporting them in creating valuable and special memories of their time with their baby. The bereavement midwife should also help to make decisions regarding funeral arrangements and investigations such as a postmortem. The role also involves building working relationships with external bodies such as the registrar of births and deaths, the coroner, local GP practices, funeral directors, crematoria and charities. It requires multidisciplinary collaboration in order to review all stillbirths and identify causes.
You’ve just won the Mums’ Midwife of the Year 2017 award…
The award is part of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards. TThe award gives mums the opportunity to pay a heartfelt tribute to a midwife whose kindness and support went above and beyond what was expected of them. I was nominated by a mother, whose son sadly died in labour, but thankfully who I was able to support through an anxious healthy second pregnancy. Award sponsor Emma’s Diary, a support resource for mums-to-be and new parents, and the RCM received a record 747 nominations from mothers across the UK, highlighting just how important the midwife’s role is.
Do you believe there is a need for more bereavement midwives?
Absolutely – bereavement support is vital for parents. But bereavement midwives also train and support staff who may come into contact with bereaved parents at any stage of their care in hospital. This helps to ensure that parents will receive sensitive care when the bereavement midwife is not present and empowers other members of staff.