View Full Version : Sensitive question here.

29-08-09, 12:50
If a Child was born Prem in the 1950's & didn't survive would it be classed as a Miscarriage or Still Birth.

Many thanks

29-08-09, 12:59
If a child is born alive it will be given a birth certificate. If it is born dead it will be a stillbirth.

The definition of a stillbirth is a birth after 20 weeks' gestation. Before that it is classed as a miscarriage.

29-08-09, 13:00
Hello Julie,

It would depend how many weeks gestation the baby was. I don't know how many weeks it would have been in the 1950s, but at some particular number of weeks gestation the baby would be considered 'viable' (I hate that word) and would therefore be entitled to be registered.

If the child breathed, then in theory there should be a proper birth cert and a death cert too. If the child was stillborn then the parents would be given the option of having a stillbirth cert - so there could be no record at all. The stillbirth register/index is only open to the parents and siblings of the child.

Joan of Archives
29-08-09, 13:00
I think it would depend if it was born alive or not Julie. A stillbirth I think is actually when the baby is born not breathing & has effectively died in the womb before birth.

A miscarriage is before so many weeks so wouldn't be registered at all. There is a Stillbirth register I think but it is only open to the parents not to general members of the public.

I apologise if I have got it wrong!

29-08-09, 13:00
Would it have been 20 weeks in the 50s Nell?

29-08-09, 13:06
According to this http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1992/ukpga_19920029_en_1

1992 Act gave definition of stillbirth 1926 (I think this is the legislation that enabled registration of stillbirths) as 28 weeks, which was amended in 1965 to 24 weeks.

So presumably between 1926-65 it was 28 weeks.

29-08-09, 13:11
Thanks for that Nell - I'm still trying to find out more about my dad's other children who would have been born in the 1940s or early 50s. Part of the trouble with the stillbirth register (apart from, in my case, being a half-sibling to the children rather than a full one) is that I don't know when or where they were born.

29-08-09, 13:23
Thank you very much ladies

It was my Mum.....She had twins in 1955 about April time, my Aunt has told me they were due after May but she doesn't know when......I was told by another Aunt that they were stilborn.

As it was my Mum i can't ask for any info though she knows i do the family tree.
What im trying to work out is if they were still born when would it have been classed as a miscarriage, which Nell has said 20 weeks.

So my next question was going to be, would i be allowed to look at the still born register

Many thanks everyone

Olde Crone
29-08-09, 14:00

No, no-one is allowed to look at the stillbirths register and only parents can request information from it, or if both parents are dead, then a sibling.

Why don't you ask your mum? She might welcome the chance to talk (and grieve) about this after all these years, it must have been a terrible time for her.


29-08-09, 14:04
Personally I think your Mum would be glad to share the information. I know my m-i-l benefitted from telling me about her first child, who died after 2 minutes - my fil couldn't talk about it.

29-08-09, 14:45
Thanks OC & Nell

No i can't ask her, if you knew her you'll understand why but thanks anyway

29-08-09, 20:41
I agree, I think that your Mum would probably like to talk about it now. Oh, just seen your last post, so it would seem out of the question. Sorry Julie.

This IS an extremely sensitive subject, and one which has many grey areas I think. What follows has nothing to do with the above question, but may be relevant to others, and if it upsets anybody then I will gladly remove the post.

My wicked stepmother from down below was a Nurse before, during and just after the war and she often used to talk about the babies who were born with little chance of survival, or who were too badly damaged for them at that time to do anything about. She said that they were carefully wrapped and put to one side and given no further attention whilst the parents were told that the child was stillborn, or died shortly after birth. Many of these babies lived for a few hours, albeit in an unconsious state, but I wonder whether they had a birth certificate?

29-08-09, 22:08
If anyone is interested...........

In Australia the NSW Index has stillbirths listed in the "deaths" section. Not sure about the other states as they could be listed just as deaths of un-named people.

Olde Crone
29-08-09, 22:20

I have heard exactly the same story from a lady who was a hospital midwife in the 1950s and 60s.