Death of a baby, child or young person

When a child or baby dies it is a difficult and emotional time that will change the lives of their family forever. Few experiences can compare to the pain of losing a child. Please know that there is support available.

It may be helpful to talk with your GP, friends and family or your midwife or health visitor about how you are feeling. There are also many support organisations who can offer a mixture of practical advice and emotional support.

Death of a baby during pregnancy

The loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy is a traumatic and painful event. Staff at the hospital will provide you with information about what has happened and what will happen next. They will also give details of organisations who can support you and your family. Although it is difficult, talking about your experience and grief with loved ones can help. You do not need to face this on your own.

If your baby was born alive, at any stage of pregnancy and then died, you will need to register your baby’s birth and death with the registrar.

You can arrange a telephone appointment with the registrar. The hospital or doctor will provide a birth card and a death certificate. You should send these to the registrar. Once sent you can arrange a telephone appointment to complete the birth and death registrations.

You can contact Glasgow Registrars by:

What happens next?

Following this appointment, the registrar will send you a certificate of registration of birth and a certificate of registration of death. You should send or hand the certificate of registration of death to the funeral director. This will allow the burial or cremation to take place.

In Scotland, all deaths must be registered within 8 days.

Early pregnancy loss

If you have experienced early pregnancy loss (any time before 24 weeks of pregnancy), you may be feeling a range of emotions. We hope that the following information will be helpful. There is no right or wrong way to feel and how you feel and respond to what has happened will be unique to you.

In time you may wish to access support from friends and family. Or, you can speak with your GP about how you are feeling. You can also access some of the support services listed.

There is no legal certificate following a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks. However, hospitals in Glasgow can provide a certificate for parents to acknowledge what has happened.

There is a Book of Remembrance within your local hospital to remember those babies lost in pregnancy or shortly after birth.

More information is available from NHSGGC

If your baby is stillborn

If your baby was born stillborn (after the 24 weeks of pregnancy or during birth), you must register the stillbirth within 21 days. Registrations can take place remotely. This means you will not need to visit the Registrar in person.

What you will need to register a stillbirth

You will need:

  • the certificate of stillbirth (Form 6) issued by the doctor or midwife who was present at the event
  • the stillbirth registration card issued by the hospital or midwife
  • your marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable or available)
  • your birth certificate(s) (if available)

How to book an appointment with the Registrar

You can phone to book an appointment to register the stillbirth on 0141 287 7654. This line is open Monday to Friday between 9am to 3:30pm.

Who can register a stillbirth

If the baby’s parents are married to each other, or in a civil partnership, either parent may register the stillbirth. If the baby’s parents are not married to each other or in a registered civil partnership, the mother must register the stillbirth.

What happens next?

Once the registration appointment has been completed, the registrar will send you a certificate of registration of stillbirth (also known as Form 8). You should send this to your chosen funeral director before burial or cremation.

You can also request an extract of stillbirth if you wish.

Further information

More information on registering a stillbirth is available on the Glasgow City Council website.

Thinking about a funeral, burial or cremation for a baby or child

Many hospitals will have an arrangement with a particular funeral director. Or, staff can put you in touch with one, or you can contact a funeral director of your choice. You can speak with the funeral director before you register the death if you wish.

In Scotland, it usually does not cost anything to bury or cremate a baby, child or young person. You will still need to pay other fees such as a funeral director, flowers and memorial.

You may be eligible to apply for the Funeral Support Payment. This payment is available to people in Scotland who are on certain benefits or tax credits and need support to meet the cost of a funeral. 

Remember that you may need help to do all these things. Relatives, friends and neighbours may be able to support you.

Financial support

You may be eligible to apply for the Funeral Support Payment to help cover some of the costs of the funeral.

The rules around benefits can be complicated, more information is available on

Support services

You can find support from the following services:

Antenatal Results and Choices (national charity providing support to individuals bereaved following the loss of a baby as a result of a prenatal diagnosis)

Baby Loss Retreat

Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK/NHSGGC Bereavement Support for Parents, Siblings and Staff

The Compassionate Friends

Miscarriage Association

Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity)

  • email (Sands aim to respond to emails within 48 hours, except during weekends when the helpline is closed)
  • phone 0808 164 3332
    Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm
    Tuesday and Thursday, 6pm to 9pm
  • visit Sands

Scottish Care and Information on Miscarriage

Scottish Cot Death Trust

list of other support services, including contact details, is also available.