Dealing with Grief
Pregnancy Loss Resources
Resources for Professionals
Board of Directors
Miscarriage (before 20 weeks gestation) and still birth (after 20 weeks) are
major and very real losses. If you have suffered a pregnancy loss, no matter
how early, you may be in shock right now. This information sheet is intended
to help you negotiate the first days and weeks after your loss, when you will
probably be facing hard decisions and phone calls to make. Following are
questions you may want to consider and phone numbers you may need.
- If you miscarry at home, call your doctor and/or 911. Consider placing your
baby and placenta in a clean container, so that genetic testing or an autopsy
can be done to identify or rule out possible causes of the miscarriage.
- If you miscarry at the hospital, talk with your doctor about doing genetic
testing or an autopsy.
In the first hours... Difficult as it will be, many parents find
- Seeing and/or touching the baby (most hospitals will accommodate)
- Having photos taken of the baby (most hospitals will accommodate; volunteer
professional photographers may be contacted through the
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
- Having a religious ceremony performed, such as baptism
- Naming the baby and getting a birth/death certificate
- Having the hospital make hand/foot/ear prints of the baby
- Donating the body to science
- Keeping mementos from the hospital, such as ID tags
- Donating your breast milk through the
Human Milk Banking Association of
Talk about these options with your doctor or nurse. These will be difficult
decisions and actions to take now, but later, when you are stronger, they may
help you connect with and memorialize your baby, whom you knew all too briefly.
Ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding your physical recovery,
including bleeding, cramping, and lactation. Ask how you can minimize your
discomfort in the coming week. You may also want to talk to a hospital chaplain
or social worker about your loss.
In the first week...
- Decide how you would like to treat your baby's remains. Burial and
cremation are common choices, and many couples hold a private or public
memorial service. The following funeral homes will provide these services
for little or no cost. Alternatively, your hospital can take care of these
|Duggan's Serra||Daly City||(650) 756-4500
|Sneider & Sullivan||San Mateo||(650) 343-1804
|Jones Mortuary||East Palo Alto||(650) 323-2481
|Oak Hill||San Jose||(408) 297-2447
|Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel||Santa Cruz||(831) 423-5721
- Arrange a follow up meeting with your obstetrician to discuss pathology
results, further testing you may wish to have done, and any questions or
problems you have.
- Contact a local support group. Helping After Neonatal Death (HAND)
has biweekly meetings for people whose children have died before, at, or soon
after birth. Each chapter has a lending library, peer counseling, home visits,
and a newsletter.
HAND of the Peninsula
(also San Francisco and Santa Cruz)
P.O. Box 3693
Redwood City, CA 94064
Helping After Neonatal Death
(Alameda, Santa Clara Counties and part of the Central Valley)
PO Box 341
Los Gatos, CA 95301-0341
(888) 908-HAND (4263)
- Consider sending out a birth/death announcement to friends and family.
Announcements, books, ornaments, and other mementos are available from:
Over the coming weeks and months... Consider other ways of honoring your baby and making his/her life more real.
- If you haven't named the baby already, give him/her a name (unisex if you
don't know the sex)
- Wear a pendant or other piece of jewelry
- Have a favorite object created into a custom urn:
- Create or purchase an artwork
- Make a donation to a favorite charity
- Plant a tree
Other Local Resources
- StarVista: San Mateo County.
24-hour crisis and parent support lines, (650) 579-0350, (888) 220-7575
(toll free), www.star-vista.org
- TALK Line 24-Hour Parental Stress Line: San Francisco.
(415) 441-KIDS (5437),
- Pregnancy After Loss Support Group: San Francisco. Newborn
Connections, California Pacific Medical Center, 3698 California Street.
Facilitated by Cherie Golant, LCSW, (415) 600-2229,
- Life After Loss Support Group: San Francisco. California Pacific
Medical Center, 3698 California Street. For interruption of a wanted pregnancy
following prenatal or genetic diagnosis. For information, call Kerstin
Spangner at (415) 600-2628
- Grupo Amparo (en Español): San Francisco. Support group and
telephone support for Spanish speaking parents and families with a neonatal
loss or the death of an infant child. For information, call Julie Mitra at
- SAND of the East Bay (Support After Neonatal Death):
- SAND of Fairfield (Support After Neonatal Death): Facilitated
by Deb Kight, RN, (707) 646-5433
- Beyond Choice Support Group: Oakland. For interruption of a
wanted pregnancy after prenatal or genetic diagnosis. For information,
call Jeanne Menary at (510) 845-4656
- Compassionate Friends: Support group for families who have lost
older children. Palo Alto/Burlingame: (650) 302-6832.
San Francisco: (650) 350-7928. Marin County:
(415) 457-3123. Oakland: (510) 835-3579
- Grupo Mariposa: Spanish language grief support for parents who have lost a child, meets one Monday a month at 700 Welch Road 114A, Palo Alto. Contact Patricia Soto-Minder LCSW (650) 721-2511, firstname.lastname@example.org
- KARA: Palo Alto. Grief counseling on a sliding fee scale,
- Northern California SIDS Alliance: Walnut Creek. Support for
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (877) 938-7437,
- California SIDS Program: Support for Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome, (800) 369-7437,
www.nationalshare.org: Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
is a resource center for parents who have lost a baby before, at, or
shortly after birth. Its web site has articles, information, and a chat
- www.hygeia.org: articles,
resource and referral information, personal stories, and a site user
support for death of a child of any age, (877) 969-0010
The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation administers a national network of
7000 volunteer photographers who will come to a hospital or hospice and
conduct a sensitive and private portrait session
support materials and resources for those who have been touched by a
crisis in pregnancy or the death of a baby
Mothers In Sympathy and Support
- www.mend.org: Mother's Enduring
Center for Loss in Multiple Birth (CLIMB)
www.honoredbabies.org: Honored Babies: learning to live with
a broken heart
www.preconception.com: articles on pregnancy after loss
Helpful Books and Booklets
- Unsung Lullabies: information on grieving with a good bibliography.
Free from HAND
- Miscarriage: A Shattered Dream by Sherokee Ilse: short book with
- Miscarriage: A Man's Book by Rick Wheat: a booklet for dads by a dad.
- Unsupported Losses by Sherokee Ilse: booklet on ectopic and molar
Arms* by Sherokee Ilse: coping after miscarriage,
stillbirth and infant death. Available from Wintergreen Press
Cradle, Broken Heart* by Deborah Davis: surviving the
death of your baby. Available from Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, CO
Lost* by Michael R. Berman: healing the pain after
miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. Available from Bergin &
Losses* by Kim Kluger-Bell: healing from miscarriage,
abortion and other pregnancy loss. Available from Norton Publishing, New
*These titles may be purchased in
association with Amazon.com by clicking on them directly.
Last updated: April 13, 2012
Copyright ©2012 HAND of the Peninsula