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After your stillbirth

Making arrangements

Your healthcare team will talk with you about what you want to do for final arrangements for your baby. These plans for the care of your baby will need to be made within 1 week of delivery.

Some of your options are:

  • Take your baby home for a short time. If you do this, you’ll need to arrange with a funeral service provider to pick up your baby from your home.​
  • Have your baby go to the morgue at the hospital. Your baby can be picked up there by the funeral service provider.

When a baby over 20 weeks gestation is stillborn, provincial law requires the baby receive appropriate burial or cremation. The funeral service provider you choose can help with this.

Although it may be difficult to make arrangements for your baby, it can also be a healing experience. If you have decided to take your baby home with you from the hospital or birthing centre, it can be a special time of bonding. You will need to work with your doctor, nurses, and funeral service provider to do this.

If you choose to take your baby home, you will need to fill in some forms. Some of these include a death certificate (signed by the doctor) and a burial permit. Before you leave the hospital, you'll need to identify a funeral service provider to assist you with care of the body.

The hospital admitting office can also give you more information about where your baby will be and when you or your funeral service provider can pick up your baby. This may depend on whether or not you choose to have an autopsy done.

Choosing a funeral home

Choosing a funeral home is the first step in funeral or memorial service planning. Funeral homes provide personalized care for a funeral or memorial service. Professional services they offer include meeting with a funeral director, use of their funeral home or crematorium facilities, and preparation of your baby's body for burial or cremation. They can also provide support with cremation or burial arrangements.

Families may choose a funeral home based on preference, experience, or referral from a friend. Funeral homes will arrange to move your baby to their location. If an autopsy is being done, the funeral home will arrange to move your baby once this is completed.​


  • Costs for burial may be higher than cremation because of a required plot and maintenance.
  • Burial can include earth burial (interred), or it can be an above ground burial (entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum).
  • You should involve a funeral service provider to be sure the remains are buried according to provincial legislation.


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.

  • Cremation usually costs less than burial.
  • To scatter your baby’s remains, you’ll need advance permission from most public lands.
  • A casket is not required, just a simple combustible container.
  • You don’t need to decide what to do with the ashes right away. You may want to use them during a later memorial service or have them included in a piece of je​wellery or art.​

Ask the funeral service provider for more information as some services may be free of charge.​ ​

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