North East hospital launches clinic to support families with rainbow babies

Care at the Rainbow Clinic begins at diagnosis and carries through until families return for subsequent pregnancies. Credit: ITV/Northumbria NHS Trust

A new clinic to support families with "rainbow babies" has been announced on North Tyneside.

Launched by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the specialist area will support families going through pregnancy that have had a previous baby loss.

A rainbow baby is a baby born after miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, termination for medical reasons, stillbirth, or neonatal death.

The term was coined to symbolise how a rainbow emphasises hope and light after a dark time.

A logo for the clinic was designed by Dawn and Keith Tait who hoped it could bring light to future pregnancy journeys of other families. Credit: Northumbria NHS Trust

Based at North Tyneside General Hospital, appointments will be offered biweekly from 23 weeks and will be attended by a bereavement lead consultant obstetrician, a bereavement midwife, and a sonographer, to provide specialist support.

It is hoped care offered via the dedicated rainbow clinic will improve the emotional and psychological wellbeing of families and reduce the need for extra hospital admissions.

Jenny Gregory, alongside Nira Flanighan, have been in post as the trust’s bereavement specialist midwives since April 2023. Credit: Northumbria NHS Trust

Katy Lissaman, acting head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare said: “We are delighted to be able to offer extra support through our Northumbria Rainbow Clinic to parents whose previous babies have been stillborn or died shortly after birth.

“Pregnancy after loss can naturally be daunting. The Rainbow Clinic can help us to improve and personalise the care that women and birthing people receive during pregnancy and the early neonatal period.”

Jenny Gregory, a bereavement specialist midwife, said “The Rainbow Clinic will provide parents with specialist antenatal care and continuity of support during an emotional subsequent pregnancy.

“We want to support parents through the difficult and complex processes following a loss, such as investigation findings and funeral arrangements. We want to provide this in a setting that’s more appropriate for the needs of grieving parents.”

Care at the Rainbow Clinic begins at diagnosis and carries through until families return for subsequent pregnancies.

The announcement comes during Baby Loss Awareness Week (9–15 October 2023), with events held across the region to remember lives lost.

Around 200 people are expected to attend a vigil at Northumberlandia on the evening of Sunday 15 October, for families to light candles and come together to mourn the loss of their children.

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