Causes and consequences of pregnancy loss and perinatal death
University College Cork
There have been major advances in reproductive medicine, however there is still a considerable risk that a woman may experience pregnancy loss and/or perinatal death. It is acknowledged that pregnancy loss and perinatal death are traumatic events further emphasising the need for empathetic supportive care. However, there is still a dearth of research identifying not only the most appropriate bereavement care but also how best to support parents in subsequent pregnancies. The data from these studies revealed that the experiences of the bereaved parents were distinctly different depending on whether they experienced miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or perinatal death. These data further illustrated the profound impact that pregnancy loss and/or perinatal death has on both women and men, their relationships with each other as well as with their family and friends. Findings also indicate how the hospital environment can have a negative impact on parents when experiencing pregnancy loss and/or perinatal death. Parents emphasised the importance of dedicated clinics and wards within the hospital. These dedicated spaces give parents and couples privacy and dignity at the time of their loss. Pregnancy loss is often referred to as an ‘invisible loss’ as often the event may not publicly acknowledged. These data further illustrate the isolating effect of pregnancy loss as parents felt they could not discuss their pregnancy loss and/or perinatal death as it may create socially awkward situations. The qualitative data also indicated there is considerable misperception and misunderstanding in relation to pregnancy loss and perinatal death, which was not only evidenced in the individual interviews but also throughout social media. How society understands and responds to pregnancy loss and perinatal death can be influential on an individual’s experience. These data suggest there is a need for a better understanding of pregnancy loss and perinatal death throughout society.
Stillbirth , Mixed methods , Pregnancy loss , Perinatal death
Meaney, S. B. 2016. Causes and consequences of pregnancy loss and perinatal death. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.