When a pregnancy doesn’t go full term because of an early fatal demise, one question often asked is if my baby is 20 weeks gestation will the hospital keep my baby or can I plan a baby funeral instead. In the United Kingdom the answer is yes you can plan a funeral for any baby loss but you only get a death certificate for babies born at 24 weeks gestation and upwards.
Does the hospital keep early stillborn babies?
The baby bereavement midwife team should work closely with a family that has just lost their baby early on in pregnancy.What you can do as parents is ask the hospital what is their policy for the disposal of fetal demise tissue. It may depend at what stage the pregnancy went to. Most hospitals offer to cremate the remains of your baby with other babies. There may be a short memorial service performed at a memorial garden of remembrance the baby’s ashes would be scattered at the same place for all the babies this option is less personalised to organising everything yourself.
This is not the only option as families can work with a local funeral director. The sensitive funeral director can work with an immediate family member to plan a service, burial or cremation of a baby no matter how small he or she was at delivery. Some funeral directors are free for baby funerals and the costs involved can be more for items such as an urn, burial plot purchased, grave stones and other permanent graveside fixtures.
Babies that have reached 24 weeks that have been born stillborn or pass away shortly afterwards have to have a burial or cremation.
Do you have to have a burial funeral service for a stillborn baby loss at 18 weeks gestation?
If you do not want baby born at 18 weeks to be buried in a family plot or other special place you can have the ashes scattered in a favourite walking spot such as a hillside or woodland area.
Planting a little bush in memory of baby near your house is a good option, but If you plan to move house years down the line scattering them in your own front or back garden may be difficult with future visits.