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After Your Stillbirth

At the Hospital or Birthing Centre

Once it has been confirmed that your baby has died, you will need to deliver your baby.

The doctor will give you information about labour and the options you have for how to deliver your baby. The options depend on your physical and emotional condition, your personal preferences, your original birth wishes, and what resources are available.

Your options may include:

  • induction of labour – this means you’ll get medicine to help start your labour
  • wait for the labour to begin naturally
  • surgery or caesarean section (C-section)

If you have high blood pressure, infection, or your waters have already broken, your doctor may recommend that labour be “induced” with medicine. This medicine may be by tablet, suppository, or intravenous (through a vein in your arm).

If you plan to have any testing or an autopsy done waiting for labour to begin naturally may affect the results. Waiting may also affect how your baby looks at birth. This is something to consider if you want to take pictures to create a keepsake. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns.

Your doctor will give you time to consider your options when they can. You may be allowed to go home overnight to think about the news you just received. This may seem cruel at first, but many parents have appreciated going home so that they can think about what the experience might be like and how they might want to create memories of their babies. You may also want to think about who else you want as support people at the time of your delivery. In addition, you can then collect things you’d like to have with you for a hospital stay and organize things before returning to the hospital. How much time you have for this will depend on your doctor’s assessment of your health concerns.

Deciding on delivery

  • The doctor will talk to you about the different ways labour can be induced so you can make an informed decision about the process.
  • If your labour is to be started with medicine (induced labour), you may be admitted directly to the Labour and Delivery area
  • Sometimes surgery may also be an option. Caesarean section (C-section) is a surgical procedure to remove baby from your womb (uterus) through your belly (abdomen). Your doctor will tell you if this is an option for you.
  • Your healthcare team will do their best to give you privacy to help make your stay as comfortable as possible.
  • You’ll be offered support from a team of health professionals. You can choose which services you think will be most helpful for you.
  • Your decisions and choices will be respected. If you have a birth plan, you may want to review it to see if there are some parts of it that you’d like to follow at this time.

During the labour let your nurse know if your pain or cramping gets worse, if you are bleeding, or if you feel the need to have a bowel movement. These are signs that delivery is close.

Going through labour can be very difficult when you know that your baby is not alive. The loss of a baby is very hard to accept and as you go through the pains of labor it may be a very emotional time for you. Some parents blame themselves but this is no one’s fault. Keep this in mind as you go through this difficult time. Please talk to your healthcare team to let them know if you need something for pain or for any other needs you may have.

You’ll be able to go home from the hospital after:

  • your baby has been delivered
  • your vital signs are stable
  • you’re able to eat and drink
  • you’re able to be up and walking
  • your pain is controlled with pills (if needed)
  • you’ve had as much time as you want with your baby
  • you’ve had the opportunity to create memories and have included your family and friends

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