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Canterbury mum's fight to get death certificates for babies born before 24 weeks

By Marijke Hall

A woman who tragically lost her baby when she was five months pregnant is stepping up her campaign for such deaths to be officially recorded.

Lisa Bailey, 32, wants a change in the law so that parents are given a death certificate if their baby is born before 24 weeks.

Currently, only those born after that period can be registered.

Lisa Bailey is petitioning to for babies born before 24 weeks to be given a death certificate.
Lisa Bailey is petitioning to for babies born before 24 weeks to be given a death certificate.

Ms Bailey, of Spring Lane, Canterbury, unsuccessfully petitioned the government last year but is now lobbying Theresa May with a fresh demand for death certificates to be issued.

This week she gathered more than 600 signatures on a new petition she will deliver to the Prime Minister once it hits 1,000.

The former door supervisor is also pushing for October 15 to be recognised nationally as pregnancy and infant loss awareness day and wants city landmarks, such as The Marlowe, to turn pink and blue for the day.

“It is not a taboo subject and I want our voices heard as we do this for our babies,” she said.

Baby Amin's coffin.
Baby Amin's coffin.

“A death certificate is not just a piece of paper. For parents who have lost a child, it is an important part of the grieving process.”

Ms Bailey gave birth to her son Amin at 20 weeks pregnant on March 25, last year, at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

She was told the premature labour was due to an infection but is still awaiting answers.

“I knew there was a problem because I’d been bleeding but I could still feel him kicking me,” she said. “I was fine when I was admitted to the ward but they said my cervix was dilated and then my contractions started.

“I tried to keep him in but the pain got so intense and my waters broke.”

Ms Bailey gave birth but was then told she could not have a death certificate because Amin was not born breathing.

“I’m allowed to bury him, he was buried with my grandfather at Chartham, but I can’t have a certificate for him?” she said.

“I desperately want this piece of paper, because it’s not just that, it has my life on it and it keeps my son’s memory alive.

“If I was to do my family tree, my son wouldn’t exist on it.”

Ms Bailey set up Angel Baby Amin’s pregnancy loss support groups on Facebook, which have almost 10,000 members from the UK and abroad. “You feel like your head is a tornado,” she said. “You’re angry and upset. I hoped my group would help others while supporting me too.”

Ms Bailey also provides plaques for families who cannot afford it and organises petal releases.

The Department for Health currently has no plans to lower the age a baby can be registered, based on 24 weeks being agreed as the earliest age of viability.

To sign the petition visit https://tinyurl.com/yatk7fm8

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