One of the most difficult decisions for a bereaved parent is whether to have a post mortem or not. The Universities of Manchester and Central Lancashire, in collaboration with Sands, are undertaking a survey of parents whose baby has died to ask them questions about their experience and feelings about post mortem examination, regardless of whether they had a post mortem on their baby or not. They have recently carried out a similar survey of parents who had a stillbirth and received 750 responses. For this last study they also surveyed over 3,000 midwives, obstetricians and pathologists to find out their views on post mortem examination and have published the results in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Researchers now want to study parents’ needs for counselling and support from professionals after a baby has died in the neonatal period (within the first four weeks of life). A survey of health professionals on this issue has so far received responses from over 170 neonatologists.

Researchers are keen to hear your views and experiences to provide the evidence for health services to improve the care parents receive after their baby dies so that parents are supported in their decision making about post mortem and investigations to understand why their baby died. It is helpful to know if parents experience any barriers to deciding to have a post mortem or whether the decision is purely a personal choice. Ultimately, we want all parents to have the best care possible.

To see the survey go to: