Infant Death is usually defined as the death of a baby in the first year of life. However, Life After Loss does offer support for those who have lost an older baby, if they feel this is the right place for them. Common causes of death among infants include SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), Meningitis/Meningococcal Septicaemia, Pneumonia, and a full range of other illnesses, or even accident. In any case, it is usually a very sudden and traumatic loss. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is very common.
Neonatal Death is the loss of a baby in the first 28 days of life. The most common cause of death during this stage of life is premature birth. When a baby is born prematurely, their organs may not have had time to develop fully. In particular, immature lungs can be a problem, and Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome is the leading cause of death in preterm babies. Preterm babies, even if their lungs are able to manage with a little help, are extremely vulnerable to infection and illness, and underdevelopment of other vital organs can cause other complications.
Another major reason for the death of a baby so early in life is congenital abnormality. There are many different types of abnormality, and parents may have been aware of the abnormality from a scan, or it may have come as a shock.
It is obviously extremely traumatic and draning for any parent to see their child in an intensive care unit, enduring treatment and fighting for life. In many cases, the decision to stop aggressive treatments and resucitation falls to the parents. This is obviously an extremely difficult situation, and something which parents will struggle with coming to terms with for many years.