Welwyn Hatfield couple demand change to stillborn definition

A petition has been launched change the legal definition of stillborn to include all delivered babies.

A petition has been launched change the legal definition of stillborn to include all delivered babies. - Credit: StockSnap

A Welwyn Hatfield couple have launched a petition to change the legal definition of stillborn to include all delivered babies.

Rachael Guinan and Kieran Snelson's baby girl was born sleeping at 19 weeks one day gestation. In the eyes of the law this is classed as a miscarriage.

They have now started a petition to encourage the government to change the law that defines stillbirth as only those babies lost after 24 weeks.

Kieran said: “Rachael physically gave birth to our baby, as have many other women who been through the same situation. This is no miscarriage; she went through everything the same as a woman who has gone full term would have.” 

Rachael said: "When a mother has to give birth to the child, this is a stillborn baby. 

“I can understand being classed as a miscarriage when you don’t deliver any baby, as I’ve also been through this myself. Giving birth is completely different. That’s logic.

"When I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, sadly in the eyes of the law this was defined as a miscarriage. I couldn't disagree more, and I also don’t believe many other mothers would agree with this legal definition?

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"No parent should have to go through this horrific situation to be told they have suffered a miscarriage when a mother has physically delivered a baby. Can you imagine how midwives must feel having to tell the parents this? Please sign and share this petition and let’s get this law changed once and for all to help all parents of those beautiful angel babies born sleeping."

Their petition has now passed the 10,000 signatures mark, which means it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

A response from the Department of Health and Social Care said the Government has commissioned The Pregnancy Loss Review which is due to be published this year.

"Stillbirth or miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy are tragic events to families and individuals. We thank everyone who has signed this petition for highlighting this question, knowing how many of you will have suffered pregnancy loss.

"An advisory panel for this review was appointed to ensure that people who experience a pregnancy loss, care provider organisations and others involved in care help to shape the recommendations. These recommendations will look at the impact of the current 24 week gestation threshold before being able to formally register a miscarriage.

"This includes looking at whether it is beneficial to look at changing the laws so parents can register the loss only if they wish. Importantly, the report will also look at NHS gynaecology and maternity units care for women who have experience baby loss.

"While none of this can change the tragedy of pregnancy loss we hope that it may help us change how women are cared for, the acknowledgement of pregnancy loss at any stage, and help us to understand what the government could do to address the laws surrounding care."

You can still sign the petition at https://tinyurl.com/3ubca38p