Today sees the launch of a new charity partnership to improve access to counselling services for Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women and birthing people after baby loss.

Pregnancy research and baby loss charity Tommy’s has a dedicated midwife-led support helpline for Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women. Now, a new agreement will allow the Tommy’s midwife team to refer people who use the service directly to us at Petals for free specialist counselling support.

Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women and birthing people are known to be at higher risk of baby loss than White women and birthing people.

Data from the Office for National Statistics and Tommy’s show they are 43% more likely to experience miscarriage and almost 50% more likely to experience stillbirth.

The Tommy’s midwife-run helpline for Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women provides 1:1 support and expert advice to those who have concerns or worries before or during pregnancy, and those who have experienced pregnancy loss. Five X More, who work in partnership with Tommy’s, and campaign to reduce disparities in Black maternal outcomes, make sure the helpline reaches those most in need of the service.

From 1st February, anyone who uses the Tommy’s helpline and who has experienced baby loss in the previous 12 months will be eligible for a referral by the midwife team to the our specialist baby loss counselling service, where they will be offered five counselling sessions with one of our experienced bereavement counsellors.

Deirdre de Barra, Head of Pregnancy Information at Tommy’s, said: “We’re delighted to work with Petals to be able to get this extra support to Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women who have sadly lost a baby in pregnancy or after birth.

“Baby loss can have a big impact on mental health and counselling can help enormously.

“If you’re living with recent baby loss, it can be hard enough to cope with the day-to-day demands of work, family and relationships. Finding the emotional energy to seek counselling can be a daunting task.

“Our midwives will now be able to take on that job, removing one of the barriers that may prevent Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women from getting specialist counselling services after baby loss.”

Karen Burgess, Founder and Chief Executive of Petals said: “A priority for us at Petals is to understand and overcome barriers to accessing our specialist counselling service.

“We are therefore delighted to partner with Tommy’s and Five X More to pioneer a new referral pathway for Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women and birthing people to smoothly transition into our counselling service.

“Through working together as organisations, we aim to foster trusting relationships with these women and birthing people that will facilitate their smooth transition into counselling, enabling them to benefit from processing their very personal experience of baby loss with a Petals specialist counsellor who will ‘get it’.”

Clotilde Rebecca Abe, Co-Founder of Five X More said: “We are genuinely thrilled to partner with Tommy’s and Petals on the counselling initiative.

“We wholeheartedly celebrate the arrival of this crucial service, ensuring that women in need receive the support they deserve. It’s not just a service; it’s a beacon of hope, and we’re elated to see it come to life.”