PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law The Family Bereavement Leave Act Thursday.

It’s an amendment to The Child Bereavement Leave Act.

The move expands the time allotment to recover from pregnancy loss, failed adoptions, unsuccessful reproductive procedures, and other diagnoses impacting pregnancy and fertility.

The Support Through Loss Act requires Illinois employers to provide one day of paid leave and up to a maximum of two weeks of unpaid leave following a miscarriage, failed fertility procedure, stillbirth, or other fertility losses listed above.

Employees can also use the time to support a spouse or partner experiencing one of those losses.

The original Child Bereavement Law was signed in 2016.

An OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center maternal-fetal medicine doctor said having time to grieve is an important step in patient healing.

Dr. Michael Leonardi said patients grieve differently and process the implications of loss individually.

“I think society, in general, tends to minimize the impact of miscarriage on both pregnant women and families,” said Dr. Leonardi. “The desire to reproduce is powerful and the loss of a pregnancy has significant emotional and psychological burden on some patients.”

He said 20-30% of pregnancies end in loss with the majority happening in the first trimester.

“The other thing that has been observed is in some way early pregnancy loss may be considered to be less significant emotionally, physically, or medically, by coworkers, or extended family, or the public…when in reality grief and loss is very personal,” said Dr. Leonardi.

Dr. Leonardi said it’s important for those experiencing loss to know it’s ok to seek help or guidance through support groups, grief counseling, clergy, or your church.

Maternal-fetal medicine, or perinatology, is a sub-specialty of obstetrics and gynecology.

It cares for those with complex pregnancies.

Common maternal-fetal services include blood sugar control, comprehensive fetal ultrasounds, fetal blood sampling or transfusion, first trimester screenings, and genetic amniocentesis.

OSF HealthCare said it offers a multi-disciplinary team approach by partnering with adult and pediatric specialists in other areas of medicine to manage any problems that may impact a patient’s pregnancy.

“Patients continue to see their obstetrician for their regular prenatal checkups while the maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist manages the high-risk aspects of the pregnancy as well as the evaluation and treatment of the fetus.”

The Mother-Baby Unit at Carle BroMenn Medical Center shared the following statement:

About 15 % of pregnancies end in loss occurring before 20 weeks of pregnancy and about 1% occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Pregnancy loss can bring on a range of emotions.  It is important to allow yourself to grieve.  Like physical healing, emotional healing takes time.  Sharing experiences with others who have been through the same thing is often helpful and reassuring.  Carle BroMenn Medical Center offers a Support Group for Pregnancy and Newborn Loss.  The support group currently meets over Zoom on the first Thursday of the month at 7 pm.  For more information about the support group, contact the Mother-Baby Unit at (309) 452-6667.

State Senator Dave Koehler is a sponsor of SB3120.

“Far too often, we don’t speak enough about the pain many families endure as they struggle with fertility issues or when they have a miscarriage,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “Plain and simple, this legislation is about compassion. It’s about holding space for people facing these kinds of losses and giving them time to heal.”