Life after loss: what is a rainbow baby?

Yesterday (22 August) was National Rainbow Baby Day in the US, but the term is one that parents worldwide will relate to.

A Rainbow Baby is a term often used to describe a child born after previously having a miscarriage, something which affects an estimated 15% of all confirmed pregnancies.

After the loss of a baby some turn to fertility treatments like IUI (in utero insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilisation) to conceive.

Miscarriage not only has physical effects on the body, but mental effects too. It often means that couples spend another pregnancy anxious and doubtful, waiting for something to go wrong.

A symbol of hope

The term rainbow baby comes from the idea of a rainbow happening after a terrible storm. While you won’t forget that the storm happened, it signifies better things to come after a struggle.

Speaking out

Miscarriage is often a taboo topic, but one that more mothers are stepping forward to discuss. Celebrities like Chrissy Teigan, Celine Dion and Beyoncé have spoken out about their experiences of losing a baby.

The combination of brave mothers and celebrities speaking out is removing the taboo label.

On National Rainbow Baby Day, mothers took to the internet to share their experiences of life after loss. One post by Packer Family Photographs on Facebook has been shared more than 65,000 times.

The image shows Patricia and Kimberley O’Neill’s newborn daughter, London swaddled in a rainbow cloth and surrounded by the 1,616 IVF needles used during their 4 year fertility journey.

The couple experienced three miscarriages during this time and now consider London their rainbow baby.


If you or someone you know has lost a baby there is support available.

The Miscarriage Association

Helpline: 01924 200799

Cruse Bereavement Care 

Helpline: 0808 808 1677

Miscarriage Support Scotland

Helpline: 0141 552 507


Helpline: 116 123


Helpline: 0300 123 3393
Text: 86463


Helpline: 01708 765200

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