Stillbirth and perinatal death

Mothers of babies who were stillborn, or died soon after birth, almost always develop grief reactions as found after other forms of bereavement. They are at high risk of prolonged depression and have an increased suicide rate. Fathers are also affected but have not been so thoroughly studied. Management after neonatal bereavement should include opportunities for the parents to see and touch the dead child, encouragement to give the baby a name, take a photograph, hold a funeral, receive an explanation for the death and obstetric/genetic advice about future pregnancies, and bereavement counselling from an experienced professional. Such measures have been shown to reduce the duration of psychiatric morbidity.

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