Registering a Stillbirth
A stillborn baby is legally defined as a child born after the 24th week of pregnancy who did not at any time after being born breathe or show any other signs of life. The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS) is an organisation which can offer you support when your baby dies during pregnancy or after birth.
The doctor or midwife who attended the stillbirth or examined the baby after the birth will issue a medical certificate of stillbirth. When you attend the Register Office of your choice to register the stillbirth you must present this certificate to the registration officer. You will need to contact the office in advance to arrange an appointment.
If no doctor or midwife was present when the stillbirth happened, whoever intends to register the stillbirth will be asked to make a legal declaration that the baby was stillborn. This form is available at any Register Office.
- When am I required to register my stillborn baby?
- Where can I register my stillborn baby?
- Who can register the stillbirth?
- What information is required to register my baby’s stillbirth?
- What certificates will I receive?
- Corrections to stillbirth records
A stillbirth in England and Wales must be registered within 42 days. A stillbirth may not be registered more than three months after it occurs.
Leicestershire Registration Service can register a stillbirth that took place anywhere in the areas covered by Leicestershire County Council, at any of its Register Offices. Please telephone to make an appointment, and be reassured that your registration will be dealt with sensitively.
Registration by declaration
For a stillbirth in a hospital or maternity home not in Leicestershire County Council's own area, for example in Leicester City, the details to register the birth can be given 'by declaration' at a Leicestershire Office. The stillbirth declaration is then sent to the Register Office in the area where your baby was stillborn, which will post the documents and certificate(s) to you. If a declaration is made, there will be a delay in receiving the certificate for burial or cremation, which is needed to make arrangements for a funeral.
- The baby’s mother
- The baby’s father if he was married to the mother at the time of the stillbirth
- The mother and the father, jointly, if they were not married to each other at the time of the stillbirth.
- The mother, if she was not married to the father, may register alone leaving out the details of the father.
If information about the baby’s father is not recorded, it may be possible for the stillbirth to be re-registered to include his details at a later date. You can obtain further information about how to apply for the re-registration of a stillbirth from your local register office.
Either the mother or the father, if they were not married to each other at the time of the stillbirth, may attend alone bringing with them a Statutory Declaration of Parentage signed by the other parent and witnessed by a Solicitor, Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Oaths or certain other designated people. This would enable the details of the absent parent to be recorded in the registration. Ask about this document at any Register Office.
In exceptional circumstances, other people can sometimes register a stillbirth if neither the mother nor father is able to. The Bereavement Officer at the hospital or staff at your local Register Office will be able to help.
- The date and place of the baby’s stillbirth, the sex, the surname. If the parents have chosen a forename(s) for the baby this can also be recorded in the registration if you wish.
- Information about the mother: your full names, any previous names, including maiden name, date and place of birth and usual address, employment before or at the time of the baby’s stillbirth. If married to each other, details of the date of the parents’ marriage and whether or not you have any other children.
- Information about the father, where applicable: your full names, any previous names, date and place of birth, and details of employment at the time of the stillbirth, or if not employed, your last occupation.
It is most important that the information recorded in the stillbirth register is correct. The person registering the baby’s stillbirth will be asked to check the information they have provided very carefully before the entry is signed.
The registration officer will issue a Certificate of Registration which provides proof that the stillbirth has been registered. Any names given to the baby and entered in the register will be recorded on this certificate. You will also receive a Certificate for Burial or Cremation, which is required by the funeral director in order that funeral arrangements can be made. If the registration is delayed, it is possible for a certificate for burial or cremation to be issued before registration, provided the stillbirth does not need to be reported to the coroner. A certificate for cremation cannot be issued before the registration.
A certificate of stillbirth is also available for a small charge. This is a copy of the whole registration record.
Under certain circumstances it may be possible to change the details or add to the information recorded at the time of the original registration. Contact the Register Office where the stillbirth was originally registered for help.
Page Last Updated: 16 April 2009