When your unborn baby is not expected to live

Receiving news of an impending pregnancy loss is devastating. You may experience a variety of emotions and have a lot of questions about what may happen and what to do next. That’s why the Angel Watch program was started more than 20 years ago.

Jade Elliott sat down with Amelia Hopkin, a licensed clinical social worker with Intermountain Healthcare, to explain  how the Angel Watch program can help you if you learn that your unborn baby is not expected to live on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

How Angel Watch got started

The Angel Watch program was started by two women who saw a need to help support women faced with impending pregnancy loss. In 2000, Intermountain Healthcare took interest and purchased it with the agreement to keep it free of charge and make it available to anyone –not just Intermountain patients – and that outreach would be done in homes. The program has grown beyond the Salt Lake area and is also offered in Utah County, Ogden, St. George and Logan.

Angel Watch is staffed by specially trained social workers and chaplains

Master’s level social workers, nurses, bereavement specialists and chaplains are available on-call to provide home visits when pregnant women receive a diagnosis of impending pregnancy loss.

How do women connect with Angel Watch?

The Angel Watch caregivers receive referrals from doctors, maternal fetal medicine specialist offices, genetic counselors and others familiar with the program, who let them know when a pregnant mom has received news her unborn baby has a life-limiting diagnosis and is interested in these services. These special caregivers work with moms during the transition time when babies are still in utero.

Angel Watch offers in-home services and referrals

Angel Watch services are done primarily in the form of home visits, phone calls, education and providing written materials and referrals to community resources.

Ongoing support provided for two years

We do support for two years following the loss. We can refer to other resources or other families who’ve experienced this at the beginning of the process or later down the road. There is a high risk for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders during and after these experiences. Our goal is to help reduce the trauma associated with this experience. Outcomes can be better for all involved if they get proper support. Parents can learn to model handling loss, so their children can learn how to handle the loss of their potential sibling.

For more information about Angel Watch, click here. You can also call 801-698-4486 or email angelwatch@imail.org.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.

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