WOMEN faced with the heartbreak of a stillborn child are to benefit from new legislation.

Under employment laws, a woman is deemed to have given birth if she has a stillborn child after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

But under the terms of the current Births and Deaths Registration Act, a stillbirth can only be registered if it occurred after 28 weeks.

This means the stillbirth is recognised under one piece of legislation but not the other, which in the past has lead to unnecessary distress.

The new bill – designed to make the definition consistent across the board – now describes stillbirths as after 24 weeks.

Health Minister John Cortes said: “I hope that this rectification will go some way to comforting those families devastated by the loss of a baby.”

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