Contributed

Softer touch needed for tragic mums

ROCKHAMPTON baby deaths are on the rise.

Eighty precious little souls lost their lives in the 2013-14 financial year.

Special APN research has revealed 66 babies died as a result of miscarriage and 14 babies were stillborn at the city's base hospital last financial year.

The Queensland Health Department figures for 2013-14 increased on the previous reporting period, when 52 babies lost their lives.

Every year, about 106,000 Australian families experience reproductive loss.

Across the nation, about 103,000 deaths occur during early pregnancy, 2250 babies are stillborn and 750 die in the first 28 days after birth.

Infant mortality experts say the community and health professionals need to reconsider how they talk to grieving parents.

Maternity care researcher Yvette Miller said many women she surveyed were traumatised when doctors, nurses and midwives used medical language to describe how and why babies had died.

"Mostly they said the professionals were kind and sensitive but... there were particular things people did that made it more difficult for them," the Queensland University of Technology associate professor said.

"Some of these included applying medical conventions to describe the loss rather than seeing it from the women's perspective, which is the loss of this prospective baby, this member of their family.

"They used language that was very medical and didn't actually fit with their experience and that made them quite confused as well.

"For example, 'all I remember the doctor saying to us is it is not compatible with life'. What does that mean to the parent?"

People affected by the loss of a baby can contact Sands Australia on 1300 072 637 or visit www.sands.org.au



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