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Improved support for parents needed after miscarriage, says Kelly

Northern Ireland needs to see improved support for parents who have experienced a miscarriage, Alliance Councillor Michelle Kelly has said.

Councillor Kelly was speaking ahead of hosting a reception at Belfast City Hall to mark the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week tomorrow (Wednesday). It will have representatives from organisations including the Miscarriage Awareness Association, Tiny Life, Cruse Bereavement Care and Sands among others.

The East Belfast Councillor, who has talked about her personal experience in the past, said the week was an opportunity to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth or in infancy.

“Suffering a miscarriage is one of the most traumatic experiences someone can go through but many who experience it are not provided with adequate follow-up support,” she said.

“This week we saw the release of a report called Out of Sight, Out of Mind by the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance, which found 60 per cent of bereaved parents felt they needed specialist psychological support for their mental health but were unable to access it on the NHS.

“This event is a chance for those affected by baby loss to share their experience and to discuss how they think the situation can be improved for others going through the same thing. My colleague Kellie Armstrong MLA has brought forward a motion for all miscarriages in Northern Ireland to be recorded, not just those which take place in a hospital, as is currently the case. Unfortunately, that will not be able to be progressed while the Assembly is suspended.

“Baby Loss Awareness Week coincides with World Mental Health Day. It’s time we funded appropriate perinatal mental support to ensure families across Northern Ireland have the right support, at the right time, to prevent significant and long term effects of baby loss.”