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After Your Miscarriage

Saying goodbye

Choosing a way to say goodbye can be stressful, but it’s important. Many parents find that saying goodbye in a meaningful way helped them in their grief. 

Take your time and think about what's best for you and your family. You may want to find a personal way to honour your baby, like a ceremony, memorial service, burial, or a private moment of remembering.​

Things to consider for a loss under 20 weeks

  • Do you want the hospital to care for the remains or do you want to make private arrangements?
  • How do you want to recognize your baby’s life?
  • Do you want a funeral, ceremony, or a memorial service? If so, where? Who do you want to invite? Do you want poems, readings, or music at the service?
  • Do you want a burial or cremation?
  • Do you want to videotape the ceremony, event, memorial service, burial, or cremation?

Private arrangements

You may choose to make private arrangements for your baby. Ask your healthcare provider for information about how you or your funeral service provider can pick up the remains. If you’re taking the remains home with you, ask your funeral service provider or your nurse about safe handling.

Handling your baby’s remains

Generally, you can decide how you want to bury your baby (remains). You’ll need to be sure that you follow any bylaws in your area. If your baby is over 20 weeks gestation or weighs 500 grams or more, you will need a burial permit.

If you decide to bury your baby on your own, you should seek legal advice to make sure you don’t go against any laws, even if the burial is on your own property (for example, how close you are to a water source may impact where you can bury your baby). If you’re taking your baby home and are storing or creating a memento with the remains instead of burying them, there are some public health and infection control measures that must be followed. Talk to your healthcare provider so that they can provide you with health and safety information.

Funerals or memorial services

You don’t need to have a body or remains to have a funeral or memorial service, or to attend a hospital service. Many hospitals and programs offer memorial services for pregnancy loss at least once each year at no cost. Some parents choose to have their own private gathering.


Cremation is when remains are placed in a special chamber and exposed to heat and flames. Ashes are then returned to the family for scattering, burial, or keeping in an urn. Some things to think about for cremation are:

  • Cremation usually costs less than burial.
  • You need permission from most public lands before you scatter ashes.
  • No casket is needed, just a small container.
  • You can have the ashes included into memorial jewelry or artwork. If you keep the ashes in an urn or memento, you can take the remains with you if you move.

Talk to your funeral service provider for more information.


Burial can be in the earth (interred) or above-ground (in a crypt within a mausoleum).

If you choose to have a private burial in a cemetery, there will be costs because you’ll need to buy a plot of land and pay maintenance costs.

If you can’t afford a burial or cremation, talk to your funeral service provider about organizations that may be able to help.

Choosing a funeral service provider

The Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board provides a directory of licensed funeral businesses.​​​

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