When your baby dies at or after birth

The death of a baby is one of the most painful things that can happen to a family. It’s so unfair. Babies aren’t supposed to die. They are the beginning of life, not the end. It’s not what you planned or expected.

In the United States, birth defects, premature birth, low birthweight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are leading causes of babies in the first year of life. Experts are studying why these things happen and how to prevent them.

Give yourself plenty of time to grieve and heal. You may never really get over your baby’s death. But you can move through your grief to healing. As time passes, your pain eases. You can make a place in your heart and mind for the memories of your baby.

You may find that talking about your feelings helps you deal with your grief. Visit Share Your Story®, our online community where families who have lost a baby can talk to and comfort each other. Sharing your baby’s story may ease your pain and help you heal.

Most common questions

How can you help your partner grieve the loss of your baby?

When your baby dies at or after birth

The death of a baby is one of the most painful things that can happen to a family. It’s so unfair. Babies aren’t supposed to die. They are the beginning of life, not the end. It’s not what you planned or expected.

In the United States, birth defects, premature birth/low birthweight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are leading causes of babies in the first year of life. Experts are studying why these things happen and how to prevent them.

Give yourself plenty of time to grieve and heal. You may never really get over your baby’s death. But you can move through your grief to healing. As time passes, your pain eases. You can make a place in your heart and mind for the memories of your baby.

You may find that talking about your feelings helps you deal with your grief. Visit shareyourstory.org, our online community where families who have lost a baby can talk to and comfort each other. Sharing your baby’s story may ease your pain and help you heal.

What should you do with all the baby things?

You probably already have baby things at home, like clothes, blankets, toys and furniture. Leave them where they are until you're ready to put them away. There's no timeline. You can put them away in a few days, in a few weeks, in a few months - whenever you’re ready.

Who can you talk to you about the death of your baby?

The death of a baby can be overwhelming. You may find it helpful to talk to someone about your feelings. Tell your partner how you feel.  You may find comfort in knowing you’re healing together, even if you’re at different stages of grief. You also can turn to friends or family. They can offer a helping hand while you’re grieving or just be there to listen.

Reach out to your religious or spiritual leader. Your spiritual beliefs may be a comfort to you during this time. Go to your place of worship, such as a church, synagogue or mosque. Even your funeral home may offer support services for grieving families.

Join a support group. A support group is a group of people who have the same kind of concerns. Ask  your provider to help you find a support group in your area. Or visit Share Your Story, an online community that includes families who’ve experience the loss of a baby.

If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Your provider can help treat your depression.

©2013 March of Dimes Foundation. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).