Bereavement Support Services 

While Mater Mothers’ Hospitals welcomes more than 12 000 babies every year, the reality is that approximately 150 families leave hospital with empty arms. This can be anywhere from early pregnancy right through to full term. These tragic losses are for a number of reasons, but what remains the same is the sense of loss and grief.

Whether you are a grieving parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, co-worker or friend, we have put together some resources to help you navigate through this difficult time. Remember each situation is different and there is no right or wrong way when dealing with the loss of a baby. Be patient, be kind and seek professional assistance if you need to.

Our Perinatal Loss Coordinator Belinda Norman has created a series of articles for anyone touched by the death of a baby.

Stories of Loss and Hope

Mater Mums who have experienced loss share their personal stories to give hope to other families suffering in their grief. Readers may find some content and images distressing.

Finding out why your baby has died

As you start to grieve the death of your baby, it is likely that you will begin to have some questions about why this has happened. Sometimes we may not know why your baby died. If this is the case the doctor will talk to you about the advantages of having an autopsy performed. This is when a specialist doctor performs an 'operation' on your baby to attempt to find out the cause of death. We realise that this can be a foreign or distressing concept however, we also know that many parents have regretted not having an autopsy. Further discussion and information about investigations into finding the cause of your baby's death will occur after the birth. It is common for grieving parents to need information repeated more than once.

Parents Georgia and Ben share their stillbirth experience and discuss how deciding to autopsy their daughter Amelia wasn't as difficult as they they thought it would be.

Centre of Research Excellence and Stillbirth

The Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Stillbirth is a collaboration addressing the tragedy of stillbirth, administered by the Mater Research Institute - University of Queensland (MRI-UQ). The CRE aims to reduce the rate of stillbirth and improve care for parents and families whose baby is stillborn in Australia.

Partnership and collaboration is essential to meet the objectives of the CRE and ensure rapid translation of research into practice and contribute to global stillbirth prevention initiatives.

The Stillbirth CRE will undertake a research program addressing priorities across four major priority areas:

  • Risk factors for stillbirth; developing and implementing best practice in care of women at or near term.
  • Novel methods for risk prediction; markers/interventions for women at risk.
  • Best care after stillbirth; improving care after stillbirth and in subsequent pregnancies
  • Understanding the causes; improving data quality through investigation, audit and classification.

Annual Dates for Remembrance

October 15 is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss day, and is held every year. A Wave of Light Remembrance service is held at 7 pm for the babies lost at Mater Mothers' Hospitals.

The third Wednesday of March each year, Mater Mothers' Hospitals holds an Early Pregnancy Loss service at 10 am in the Salmon Building, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane.

Information brochures

Further Information

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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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