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Bereavement and Perinatal Loss in Childbearing Families

  • By: Rana Limbo & Kathie Kobler
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Perinatal loss refers to the death of a baby during pregnancy, at birth, or shortly after birth. A baby's death affects the parents, siblings, and extended family and friends. The grief they feel is not related to how long the pregnancy lasted or how long the baby lived. Instead, the intensity of the grief depends on what this pregnancy or baby meant to those left behind. Health care interventions are centered on the provision of individualized, supportive care that acknowledges the baby's brief life in ways meaningful to the family.

Types of perinatal loss include miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and newborn death. Miscarriage, the ending of a pregnancy prior to 20 weeks gestation, occurs more than a million times each year in the United States. Ectopic ...

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