Somerset County Council
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Register a stillbirth

 

It can be very daunting to have to face registering a stillbirth. You can find guidance here to help you through the process, or if you would prefer to speak to someone personally, contact your local register office. Stillbirths must normally be registered within 42 days of the stillbirth but cannot be registered more than 3 months after its occurrence. This can be done at the local register office.

A stillbirth is when a baby born after the 24th week of pregnancy does not breathe or show any other sign of life after birth. A birth which takes place after 24 weeks of pregnancy, where it is known that the foetus died in utero before the 24th week is not regarded as a stillbirth.

The doctor or registered midwife will give you a stillbirth certificate which will enable you to register the event. It is also a way of officially acknowledging your baby's existence and confirming that you are the baby's parents.

If the parents are married to each other, either parent can register the stillbirth. If the parents are not married to each other, then:

  • if you want the father's details to be entered in the register, both parents can go and sign the stillbirth register together
  • if the father is unable to go to the register office, but you still want his details included, he will need to make a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity - you will need to give this to the registrar
  • if the mother is unable to go to the register office with the father, she may make a statutory declaration acknowledging the father's paternity - you will need to give this to the registrar

You can add the father's details at a later date by re-registering the stillbirth.

If neither the mother nor father is able to attend, the following people can register:

  • the occupier of the hospital or house where the stillbirth took place
  • someone who was present at the stillbirth
  • someone who is responsible for the stillborn child
  • the person who found the stillborn child, where the date and place of the stillbirth are unknown  

All stillbirths must be registered within 42 days (6 weeks).

You will be given a private appointment with a Registrar to record the baby's and parents' details, and the registration will take approximately 30 minutes. 

A stillbirth that occurred in Somerset may be registered at any one of the 10 offices. All offices operate an appointment only system. You can book an appointment either by contacting your chosen office directly or by using our call centre - 0300 123 2224. You can find contact details at the bottom of this page.

The doctor or midwife will have given you a 'Certificate of Stillbirth' which will enable you to register.

If the stillbirth occurred outside Somerset, the event will legally need to be registered in the district where it occurred. If it is not convenient for you to travel there, you can give the information for the registration to another registrar by a process known as 'a declaration'. This can be undertaken at any Register Office in England or Wales. 

The information given will then be sent to the correct district on your behalf. You will not receive any documentation when giving the declaration. Therefore, you should only make provisional arrangements for the funeral until the authority for the burial or cremation is received from the Registrar in the district where the event occurred.

After the 'Certificate of Stillbirth' has been checked by the registrar, they will need to ask or confirm the following information:

  • date and place of the stillbirth
  • confirm details from the 'Certificate of Stillbirth'
  • name and surname of baby, if given  (please note a name cannot be added at a later date)
  • parents names, surnames (including mother's maiden name if applicable)
  • parents occupations, addresses and places of birth (as appropriate)  

A certificate of registration will be made available together with a certificate for burial or cremation.

In addition to the free certificates outlined above, it will be possible to purchase a full stillbirth certificate at a cost of £4 on the day of registration. Requests at a later date are £7 and once the register has been archived, the fee increases to £10.

Contacts

You can register the stillbirth at any Register Office in Somerset, and at Somerset Register Office in Taunton.

Contact details and opening times of our Register Office and all our Registration Offices 

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