The death of a newborn cope

when a baby dies within its first month of life, then one speaks of neonatal death. Sadly, in Germany almost three out of every 1000 babies do not become one month old, most of them already die during the first week of life (this is called premature mortality) (Statistisches Bundesamt 2013). This article gives you some reasons for neonatal death. He can also help you understand if you are a friend or relative of parents who have lost their baby.

What can and must I do if my baby dies?

The decisions you make after the death of your newborn are very personal. There is no right or wrong here. Maybe you do not agree with your partner or you need time to decide on something. The hospital should respect your wishes, no matter what you choose.

Studies have shown that it helps a lot of parents to be able to see and touch their baby even after death (Rǻdestad 2001, Geerinck-Vercammen ). This is especially true if the baby has previously been in an incubator or incubator.

The heart-rending farewell moments can also be the first opportunity for parents to hug their babies properly. Some people also want to wash and dress their child. Many take pictures. You may find some comfort and support in creating memories.

Will I ever know the reason?

The cause of a baby's death can sometimes be determined by a subsequent examination, the so-called autopsy.

An autopsy can:

  • the cause of death (s) out
  • information on the development of the baby enter enter
  • information about health problems that your doctor should pay increasing attention at a subsequent pregnancy. Nevertheless, an autopsy does not always provide a reason for what happened, and that can be very frustrating. You do not have to agree to an autopsy. Some parents opt out for personal, ethical, religious or cultural reasons.

To help you make the decision, you should inform the clinician as accurately as possible. Without your consent, no examinations or tests will be made on your baby, and your wishes and beliefs should be respected. Maybe you need time to think. But the sooner an autopsy is taken, the greater the chances of obtaining useful information.

If you agree to an autopsy, you will be asked to sign a written informed consent form.Maybe you can see your baby again after the exam. The clinic staff should tell you that this is possible and how your baby will look then. If advised against, then you should first take farewell to your baby before. You should also be informed when the autopsy results are available and you should make an appointment with the doctor to discuss it.

What causes newborn death?

Most babies who die in the first month of life are either premature babies or have a very low birth weight.

In Germany, about 5 to 8 percent of all babies born prematurely (born before the 37th SSW). The chances of survival of these children have grown rapidly in recent years. Twenty years ago, there was little hope for babies born in SSW29. In the meantime more than 90 percent survive. Nevertheless, sometimes the bodily functions of these babies can not switch to a life outside the mother's belly.

Breathing problems are a common cause of illness and also the cause of death of many premature babies. In addition, the following complications often occur:

Respiratory distress syndrome or pneumonia

  • Cerebral haemorrhages
  • Infections acquired either in the womb or during childbirth
  • Intestinal inflammation (necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC)
  • The second leading cause for neonatal death are congenital genetic defects such as heart or lung defects.

What formalities do I have to do?

They are fully protected by the Maternity Protection Act and do not have to go back to work immediately, but have eight weeks after birth to recover from the strain. This time you will need emotionally and physically safe.

If your baby was born alive but then dies, both birth and death must be registered. If your child has died in the hospital, the hospital will do most of the paperwork for you. If not, you must have your doctor issue a death certificate with a cause of death. Within a day, you must notify your registry office of death, and then you will be issued a death certificate.

It seems cruel to have to deal with formalities in this time of shock and grief. But for some parents, this birth and death certificate as an official proof of existence is enormously important.

With the death certificate from the registry office you can begin to plan the funeral. You can do it alone, with the help of the hospital or a professional funeral home. Do not be pushed, do not make rash decisions. Your baby will be kept safely until everything is prepared and arranged in your interest.

I can not get over the death of my baby. Where can I find help?

While some people want to get back to their daily routine as quickly as possible, others need time to process the trauma and grieve.In our link list you will find several clubs that offer self-help groups for orphaned parents. Many women have found after the death of their child especially the support on the Internet as very helpful. You may also want to look for moral support in our grief group in the community.

How will my body recover physically and mentally?

In the first few weeks, you will bleed vaginally (""weekly flow"") and occasional pain as during the period. If the bleeding is severe, the pain gets worse, or you have a foul-smelling discharge, see your doctor immediately.

Your breast will probably produce breast milk. This can be uncomfortable and can painfully remind you of your loss. It is not necessarily advisable to stop the milk flow with medication (Oladapo and Fawole 2009). You can let nature take its course and wait for milk production to naturally fade away. Your midwife can show you how to relieve yourself. But the drugs are an option if you are feeling really bad.

After six weeks, your gynecologist will want to see you for a follow-up visit. This is a good opportunity to ask him or her about the causes of your baby's death and any possible re-pregnancy consequences.

It may take a while for your body to return to the same shape as before pregnancy. With a few gentle exercises you can support the regeneration and regain your strength. If your family or friends offer you emotional or practical help, accept them - but only if you feel that it really helps you.

What does that mean for future pregnancies?

That depends on the cause of your baby's death. If a genetic defect was the cause then you should discuss the risks and re-pregnancy risks with a human geneticist.

If your baby was a premature baby, then you have a slightly increased risk of having your next baby born too early (Campbell and Lees 2000: 279). Chances are 1: 6 (15%). On the other hand, this means that about 85 percent of all women after a premature birth have a normal normal length of pregnancy.

You can also do something to reduce the risk of premature birth in the future. For example, women who smoke during pregnancy are at greater risk. This is because the cigarette smoke lowers the oxygen level in the blood, which means that the baby is under-supplied with oxygen.

You should take all necessary precautions to avoid infections such as listeriosis, salmonella and toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Try to live as healthy as possible. You should keep your appointments for prenatal care exactly.During your pregnancy, your gynecologist and your midwife will pay close attention to every warning signal for premature labor.

Choosing or getting pregnant again can be difficult. On the one hand, it may be that you are nothing farther at the moment, on the other hand, you may not think about anything else. Some women have an overwhelming urge to get pregnant as soon as possible. Nevertheless, any subsequent pregnancy is of course fraught with enormous fears and worries.


Hannah Lohtrop: ""Good hope, sudden end"", Kösel, 1998

Klaus Schäfer: ""A path of mourning"", Books on Demand, 2003

Klaus Schäfer: ""Wege unter'm Rainbow "", Books on demand

Initiative Regenbogen: Brochures,"" Information on burial, Brochure for orphaned parents and others. [Status November 2007]

Assistance of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria to the pastoral care of miscarriage, Stillbirth and Sudden Infant Deaths www. Emergency pastoral care de [as of October 2013]

Lecture by Dr. Anette Kersting at the First World Congress on Mental Health of Women, March 2001: [as of October 2013]

Anke Rohde , ""Mental Condition after Miscarriage or Stillbirth"", 3/2006 in the Online Family Handbook [October 2013]

Bryan E, Hallett F. 1997.

Guidelines for Professionals: Bereavement London, England : Multiple Births Foundation. Campbell S and Lee's C (eds). 2000.

Obstetrics by Ten Teacher s . 17th edition. London: Arnold. pp. 273-9. Enkin M, Keirse MJ, Neilson J, Crowther C, Hodnett E and Hofmeyr J. 2000.

A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Geerinck Vercammen CR. . With positive feeling: the grief process after stillbirth in relation to the role of the professional caregivers.

European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 87: 119-121. Kohner N, Henley A. 2001.

When a Baby Dies: The Experience of Late Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Neonatal Death . Abingdon: Routledge. Rǻdestad I. 2001. Stillbirth: care and long-term psychological effects.

British Journal of Midwifery 9: 474-480. Schott J, Henley A, Kohner N. 2007.

Pregnancy Loss and the Death of a Baby: Guidelines for Professionals (3rd ed.) Sands (the stillbirth and neonatal death charity). Federal Statistical Office 2013. Chapter 2 Population, families, life styles from the Statistical Yearbook 2013 www. destatis. de [as of October 2013]

Oladapo OT, Fawole B. 2009. Treatments for suppression of lactation.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1): CD005937. mrw. inter science. wiley. com [PDF, October 2013] Show sources Hide sources

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