Death of a baby, child or young person

Blue MandalaWhen a child or baby dies it will be an immeasurably difficult and emotional time and 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 for families who have been bereaved.

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, what will happen next, and organisations who can support you and your family.  Although it is incredibly difficult, talking about your experience and your 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.

During COVID-19, there are no face to face appointments however you will be able to arrange a telephone appointment with the registrar to complete this. The hospital or doctor will provide a birth card and a death certificate which should be sent to the registrar before you contact them to complete the registrations.

You will then be able to arrange an appointment to complete the registrations of birth and death by telephone.

Glasgow Registrar contact details

Baby holding fingerEmail: genreg@glasgow.gov.uk
Phone: 0141 287 7654 (available Monday to Friday, 9am to 12.30pm)
Website: glasgow.gov.uk/registrars

What happens next?

Once you have had this appointment, the registrar will send you a certificate of registration of birth and a certificate of registration of death. This certificate of registration of death is required before burial or cremation can take place and should be sent or handed to the funeral director.

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

Early pregnancy loss

If you have experienced early pregnancy loss (any time before the 24th week of pregnancy), you may be feeling a range of emotions and we hope that the following information will be helpful. We are very sorry for your loss. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel and how you feel and respond to what has happened will be unique to you.

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

Although there is no legal certificate following a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks, 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 NHS GGC

If your baby is stillborn

If your baby was born stillborn (after the 24th week of pregnancy or during birth), a stillbirth must be registered within 21 days. During COVID-19, all registrations are taking place remotely meaning you will not need to visit the Registrar in person.

What you will need to register a stillbirth:

You will be given a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) or the Certificate of Stillbirth (also known as Form 6) from the staff at the hospital. The Doctor will ask you which registration office you would like them to send the certificate to, and they will the send this electronically. This means that the registrar will have the correct documents and will allow you to register the stillbirth.

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 9.00am to 12.30pm.

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?

Death of a baby - room for grievingOnce the registration appointment has been completed, the registrar will send you a certificate of registration of stillbirth (also known as Form 8). This is required before burial or cremation and can be sent to your chosen funeral director.

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 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. Other fees such as a funeral director, flowers and memorial will still need to be paid.

You may be eligible to apply for the Funeral Support Payment which is a payment 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 mygov.scot.

Support services

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

Provide feedback on the content of this webpage.