Different countries define pregnancy loss differently, but generally, babies who die before 28 weeks of pregnancy are miscarried, and babies who die after or before 28 weeks are stillborn. Miscarriage and stillbirth may occur for a variety of reasons, including fetal abnormalities, maternal age, and infections, many of which can be prevented, such as malaria and syphilis. However, it is sometimes difficult for the exact cause of the problem to be determined and this leads to difficulty with regards to birth certificates.


In the developed world, stillbirths and miscarriages are rarely recorded systematically, even though they are associated with nearly 2 million deaths every year. There are several things we can and should do to prevent stillbirths and miscarriages.


According to the Births & Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992 in South Africa, stillbirth is defined as a child who has existed within the womb for at least 26 weeks but has not shown any signs of life following birth. Pregnancy loss that occurs less than 26 weeks of gestation or after a medical termination is excluded from this definition.

Do Stillborn Babies Get Death Certificates in South Africa

If your baby was stillborn, the hospital doctor or midwife will provide you with a certificate of stillbirth, stating that your baby was stillborn. In South Africa, you don’t get a death certificate for stillborn babies. If you take this to the Department of Home Affairs, the registrar will issue you with a certificate of stillbirth registration. 


The team at DocAssist specializes in helping South Africans obtain legal documents, including death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and copies thereof. Our team can expedite the application on your behalf or apply on your behalf for the certificate. Get in touch with Doc Assist today to find out more or to request assistance!


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