When a child is still-born it is necessary to register the still-birth in the district in which it occurred. Although this may be arranged through any register office in England or Wales, it needs to be done within 42 days, and may not be done more than three months after the still-birth occurred.
What is the definition of a stillbirth?
A still-born child is legally defined as a child born after the 24th week of pregnancy who did not at any time after being born breathe or show any other signs of life. A child who breathed or showed other signs of life is considered live-born for registration purposes irrespective of the number of week’s duration of the pregnancy.
If you have suffered a still-born bereavement, whether you are a parent or other family member, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS) can offer a range of support services so you can choose what is right for you.
How to register a still-birth
A medical certificate of still-birth will be issued by the doctor or midwife who examined the body or who were present at the birth. This certificate is necessary to register the still-birth at the Nottinghamshire County Council Register Offices. Most of the Register Offices operate an appointment system so it is advisable to ring in advance.
The information is recorded in the still-birth register and the person registering the still-birth signs the record.
Registration can sometimes be carried out at the hospital before the mother leaves, instead of at the register office.
If it is inconvenient to go to the district where the still-birth took place, the information for the registration may be given to a registrar in another district. The registrar will record the details on a form of declaration and send it to the registrar for the district where the still-birth occurred. The registrar who receives the declaration will enter the information in the still-birth register.
Certificates of the still-birth, which may be ordered and paid for at the time of making the declaration, as well as the document for the burial or cremation, will be posted by the registrar for the district where the still-birth took place. If a declaration is made, it may take a day or two longer for the document for burial or cremation to be issued. The family should discuss the arrangements with their funeral director and the registrar so as to avoid any delay to the funeral.
Who can register a still-birth
This explains who can register a still-birth, and when information about the father may be included in the register:
- Parents married to each other
If the parents of the child were married to each other at the time of the still-birth (or conception), either the mother or the father may register.
- Parents not married to each other
If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the still-birth (or conception), information about the father may be entered in the register only in the following circumstances:
- the mother and father go to the register office and sign the still-birth register together, or
- where the father is unable to go to the register office with the mother. The father may make a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity which the mother must produce to the registrar (this form may be obtained from any registrar in England or Wales), or
- where the mother is unable to go to the register office with the father: The mother may make a statutory declaration acknowledging the father’s paternity which the father must produce to the registrar (this form may be obtained from any registrar in England or Wales).
If information about the father is not recorded, it may be possible for the birth to be re-registered to include his details at a later date, speak to the registrar about this.
For more information on this service, please visit the Registering a stillbirth section of the Nottinghamshire County Council. Contact should be made direct to the County Council in accordance with their contact information.