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Ceremonies To Mark Baby Loss Awareness Week

2 OCTOBER 2006

Ceremonies To Mark Baby Loss Awareness Week At Auckland City Hospital
Baby Loss Awareness Week 9th – 15th October

Auckland parents who have experienced pregnancy loss, a still birth or the loss of a newborn are invited to special memorial events at Auckland City Hospital on Sunday 15th October.

Baby Loss Awareness Week starts on 9th October, and SANDS (Stillbirth and Newborn Death Support) Auckland Central Inc and the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) are supporting the initiative with information displays and remembrance events at Auckland City Hospital.

The awareness week and the International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (15th October) aims to raise awareness of the impact pregnancy and baby loss has on new parents in the community and outline the resources available locally for grieving families.

Julie Arthur, Charge Midwife in the Women's and Day Assessment Units at Auckland City Hospital, said reproductive loss remains largely under-recognised by society and the activities planned during the week and the remembrance day will provide an environment for parents to meet with others who had also lost a baby and share their stories.

"It's important for women and their families to share, talk and walk with someone through their grief journey so they can feel that their loss is acknowledged. It helps them to look forward to a future with hope," she said.

Memorial events planned on Baby Loss Remembrance Day include an afternoon tea at 4.30pm on Level 9 where a commemorative artwork will be crafted, and a Wave of Light candle ceremony is planned for 6.45pm at the Hospital Chapel on Level 6 at the Auckland City Hospital.
Research conducted by the ADHB in 2005 for its Annual Clinical Report put the stillbirth and neonatal death rates for Auckland women at 9.2 and 5.9 per 1000, respectively. This rate is slightly higher than the national average due to the greater proportion of high-risk pregnancies referred to National Women's. International statistics show that 1 in 3-4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Julie Arthur says that in many cases there are indicators that make pregnancy loss and infant death more likely.

"Risk factors include advancing pregnancy age, women who are diabetic, obese, smokers or drug users. Maori and Pacific Island women are more likely to have pregnancy complications than Europeans, and Asian women have the lowest risk. Premature babies and those that have foetal abnormalities have a higher likelihood of dying; there are also genetic and familial reasons why women will lose their babies. But there are also many cases we can't explain as well," she said.

The University of Auckland, with the assistance of staff at National Women's is currently undertaking a three year stillbirth study to investigate trends and establish causes for stillbirth in women that currently can not been explained.


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