Today marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, a day to remember babies that died too early and to support the families grieving their tragic loss. As many as 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage each year and in Canada, approximately 8 babies are stillborn every day- that’s one family, one baby, every 3 hours. In addition, 5 babies die within the first year after birth. That’s one family, one baby, every 5 hours.
For families that have experienced such devastating loss, receiving more sensitive and personalized obstetrical care during their next pregnancy is essential, but it can be difficult to find. A new pilot project at Sunnybrook is attempting to address this gap: the Subsequent Pregnancy Program.
“Our primary focus is on evidence-based, woman-centered care. We are seeing women and their families who are experiencing another pregnancy after a late loss (past 16 weeks gestation) or the death of a baby within the first month of life,” says Megan Fockler, Advanced Practice Nurse. Together with Dr. Jon Barrett, Chief, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, she is leading the implementation of the Subsequent Pregnancy Program at Sunnybrook.
“Linking women to a care team that knows about their history, and understands their story and preferences, will hopefully create a more positive experience for our families,” says Fockler.
The one-year pilot project, which launched in the summer, has started seeing women who are expected to give birth in the fall and early 2015. Within a family-centered model of care, women will receive care from an interprofessional team. The Advanced Practice Nurse will act as a navigator, connecting families with resources and providing seamless care and support when needed.
“Women are looking for excellent clinical care that includes sensitivity and continuity. We focus on individualized care that begins during antenatal visits and extends through the birthing process and postpartum care. Linking women to a care team that knows about their history, and understands their story and preferences, will hopefully create a more positive experience for our families,” says Fockler.
After the initial pilot project phase is complete, the Women & Babies Program hopes to expand the Subsequent Pregnancy Program to take on more patients in early 2015.