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Maternity bereavement care

We provide emotional and practical support to families experiencing the loss of their baby.

'We don't have all the answers but we do have unlimited love, compassion and support to offer' Zoe Clark-Coates

Our team

The maternity bereavement team is a small team made up of two specialist bereavement midwives, a dedicated doctor and a team administrator. The team offers care and support for women and their families at Royal Berkshire Hospital following late miscarriage, stillbirth and babies who have sadly died shortly after birth.

The team will offer ongoing practical, emotional support and information in the weeks and months following the loss of a baby. This support will guide families through some of the choices, which are required such as registration requirements, information relating to funerals and any tests undertaken on the mother and baby (such as a post mortem examination). We continue to care for families after their loss and offer follow up care with a doctor to discuss any tests, results and ongoing plans and concerns for a future pregnancy. The team also provides information about local and national support groups and counselling services.

Bereavement care

We have two dedicated bereavement rooms within our maternity unit. The Willow room is located on the delivery suite where women and their families are cared for during the birth of their baby. Our postnatal bereavement room, the Maple room, is located on Marsh ward. Both rooms are en suite with a double bed and a homely feel.

Occasionally, care may be provided in an alternative hospital room due to capacity and safety.

Some families will choose to spend a short time in hospital with their baby whereas others may wish to spend longer. All families are offered the opportunity to spend time with their baby at home. The bereavement team are experienced in supporting families with the practicalities of this.

The willow and maple rooms are kindly loved and supported by The Willows support group.

The Willows support group was formed by a group of parents in the Reading area, who have all lost babies at various stages. The group provides an extremely valuable source of caring and understanding that is needed after such an immense loss. The maternity bereavement team work closely with the group to improve facilities and care for bereaved families.

Our hospital offers a range of memory making opportunities, which includes photographs, memory boxes, inkless hand/footprints and clay imprints. Memory boxes are donated from the charity 4Louis. Our hospital also works with many other charities providing memory making opportunities to families, please ask the specialist bereavement midwives for further details.

We are also able to offer Ibraheem's Gift packs containing the immediate necessities that parents may need to help them prepare for their baby's Muslim burial.

Many families supported by our hospital have told us how thankful they were to spend time with their baby, bathing, dressing and making memories.

We have a range of hats, clothing, nappies, moses baskets and blankets available for babies from 16 weeks' gestation.

Remembering your baby

Our hospital holds a baby remembrance service bi-annually, supported by the Willows support group. Details and updates for the services are available on the Willows website and Facebook page. Many parents find this is a very good way of remembering their baby, along with other parents who have shared a similar experience.

The hospital chapel has a special ‘Book of Remembrance’ for babies where parents can add a message or poem and a picture of their baby, if they wish. The entries are made by a calligrapher. The book is open at the current date but you can visit the chapel and read their entry at any time. As the Book of Remembrance is kept secure in a glass case, you may need to go to the nearby reception desk in order to get the key. Please contact the specialist bereavement midwives for details of how to make an entry to the book.

Our hospital participates in the annual baby loss awareness week by raising awareness, lighting candles and remembering each precious baby.

Our hospital’s chaplaincy team provides spiritual, pastoral and religious care to patients and their families. Whatever your circumstances or beliefs, you may find that you would value the opportunity to talk with someone in confidence about your feelings or thoughts. You do not have to be "religious" to talk to a chaplain. Our chaplaincy team are committed to care for each individual and to respect all people regardless of race, religion, creed or belief, gender, culture or lifestyle.

Our chaplaincy team are also able to provide a religious or non-religious naming ceremony or blessing for babies. Please talk to the midwife caring for you or the specialist bereavement midwives if you would like a blessing or naming ceremony for your baby. You can also contact the chaplaincy team directly on 0118 322 7105.

Our hospital also has a dedicated team supporting families in pregnancies after a late miscarriage, stillbirth or death of a baby. Further details are available for our Rainbow service.

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