Pregnancy Loss and Newborn Death SIG | The International Marce Society for Perinatal Mental Health

Pregnancy Loss and Newborn Death SIG

The Pregnancy Loss and Newborn Death Work Group is moving forward!

If you are interested in joining the Pregnancy Loss and Newborn Death distribution list, and/or attending the Regional meetings, please contact the Executive Office.

Deborah Rich, PhD, PMH-C, Licensed Psychologist
Chair, Pregnancy Loss and Newborn Death Work Group
Founder, Shoshana Center for Reproductive Health Psychology
Creator, MommaCare TM Training and Outreach


For Resources such as Support Groups, Hotlines, Books, web sources, and other media, CLICK HERE.

Previous Events:


Citation List


Farren, J., Jalmbrant, M., Ameye, L., Joash, K., Mitchell-Jones, N., Tapp, S., Timmerman, D., & Bourne, T. (2016). Post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression following miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy: A prospective cohort study. BMJ Open, 6(11), e011864.
A pilot study looking at emotional distress in women after early pregnancy loss (miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy) as compared with women with ongoing pregnancies.  At 1-month and 3-months post-loss, PTSD, anxiety and depression were all higher in the early pregnancy loss group than in the control group.  Notably 28% (1-month) and 38% (3-months) of women with early pregnancy loss met diagnostic criteria for probable PTSD.  (England)


Abiola, L., Legendre, G., Spiers, A. et al. (2022). Late fetal demise, a risk factor for post-traumatic stress disorder. Science Reports, 12, 12364.
Prevalence of PTSD after experiencing late-term fetal demise was found to be 44.2% at 15 days after late-term fetal demise, 34.1% at 1-month post-demise, and 9.1% at 3-months post-demise.  Peritraumatic dissociation, seeing the fetus during hospitalization, holding the fetus, and funeral service planning were associated with PTSD symptoms in this sample.  (France)


Loughnan, S.A., Boyle, F.M., Ellwood, D. et al. (2022). Living with Loss: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial evaluating an internet-based perinatal bereavement program for parents following stillbirth and neonatal death. Trials, 23, 464.
Rationale and protocol of Living with Loss, a self-guided online perinatal bereavement support group for stillbirth or neonatal death.  This paper provides the outline of this RCT comparing the intervention to care as usual (study is in progress; no data reported).  (Australia)


Herbert, D., Young, K., Pietrusińska, M., & MacBeth, A. (2022). The mental health impact of perinatal loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 297, 118–129.
Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published between 1995 and 2020 found that there was greater risk of depressive and anxiety disorders in those with perinatal loss than in non-loss controls.  Posttraumatic stress was not significantly different between groups in the three studies that examined this.


Fernández-Basanta, S., Coronado, C., Bondas, T., Llorente-García, H., & Movilla-Fernández, M. J. (2022). Unravelling the grief of involuntary pregnancy loss: A meta-ethnography of midwives’ and nurses’ emotional experiences. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 36(3), 599–613.
A qualitative approach synthesized 11 studies on the emotional experiences of midwives and nurses caring for parents who have perinatal loss.  Midwives and nurses care for bereaved parents through looking for meaning, expressing grief, and both focusing on and moving away from the loss.


Farren, J., Mitchell-Jones, N., Verbakel, J. Y., Timmerman, D., Jalmbrant, M., & Bourne, T. (2018). The psychological impact of early pregnancy loss. Human Reproduction Update, 24(6), 731–749.
A review paper of early pregnancy loss (including miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy) and association with anxiety, depression and PTSD.  In women, depression and anxiety are high at 1-month after loss (8%-20% with at least moderate depression; 18-%-32% with anxiety); partners also had anxiety and depression but at lower levels.  PTSD was associated with early pregnancy loss in three studies (25%-39% of women at 1-month).


Roberts, L. R., Sarpy, N. L., Peters, J., Nick, J. M., & Tamares, S. (2022). Bereavement care immediately after perinatal loss in health care facilities: A scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 20(3), 860–866.
Perinatal bereavement care guidelines are summarized in this scoping review protocol.  Proposed criteria include guidelines in health care facilities pertaining to miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death and that measure parents’ mental health outcomes.


Pekkola, M., Tikkanen, M., Loukovaara, M., Paavonen, J., & Stefanovic, V. (2022). Stillbirth aftercare in a tertiary obstetric center – parents’ experiences. Journal of Perinatal Medicine, 50(6), 844–853.
A study that provides information on the experiences of parents subsequent to a stillbirth, including feeling supported during delivery, having enough time holding the baby, and feeling supported on the unit; while follow-up visits were helpful, they also were associated with increased anxiousness.  Partners tended to have more positive experiences than mothers and post-discharge support was felt to be inadequate.  (Finland)


Patel M. (2022). The impact of respectful and compassionate bereavement care following stillbirth. BJOG : An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 129(10), 1740.
This is a commentary on Sands et al. study and emphasizes the continued need for good bereavement care after stillbirth, particularly around communication with parents and opportunities for meaning- and memory-making. (UK)


Lewkowitz AK, Cersonsky TEK, Reddy UM, et al. (2022). Association of perceived lack of paternal support after stillbirth with maternal postpartum depression or anxiety. JAMA Network Open. 5(9):e2231111. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.31111
This study examined mothers’ perceived support from male partners following stillbirth.  The majority of women endorsed paternal support.  About half of the sample endorsed postpartum depression or anxiety; however, those women who had lower perceived paternal support were significantly more likely to experience postpartum depression or anxiety.  (US)


Kristvik E. (2022). The precarious space for mourning: Sick leave as an ambiguous topic in bereaved parents’ accounts of the return to everyday life after reproductive loss. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 46(2), 490–507.
Qualitative study of bereaved parents after stillbirth with particular focus on allowance for mourning and sick leave.  Concerns around how bereavement is categorized, medicalized, and even pathologized within a particular country’s system and what leave policies should allowed are discussed.  (Norway)


Hollins Martin, C. J., & Reid, K. (2022). A scoping review of therapies used to treat psychological trauma post perinatal bereavement. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 1–17. Advance online publication.
This scoping review sought out studies of therapies to treat trauma stemming from perinatal bereavement.  Only 4 studies were found to treat PTSD in this time period, with CBT and grief-counselling being helpful in reducing trauma symptoms after perinatal loss, but that yoga was not helpful in addressing these symptoms.


Aggarwal, N., & Moatti, Z. (2022). “Getting it right when it goes wrong – Effective bereavement care requires training of the whole maternity team”. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 80, 92–104.
This article provides evidence-based practice implications for supportive bereavement care after stillbirth or neonatal death, with an international perspective.  Specifically, the authors highlight the importance of structured training for the whole team providing maternity care.


Mergl, R., Quaatz, S. M., Edeler, L. M., & Allgaier, A. K. (2022). Grief in women with previous miscarriage or stillbirth: a systematic review of cross-sectional and longitudinal prospective studies. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 13(2), 2108578.
This systematic review considered a number of factors in relation to perinatal grief.  Findings included that grief is high after miscarriages and stillbirths and that their grief tends to decrease over time.  This review was unable to conclude any specific differences between single versus recurrent pregnancy loss.


Cacciatore, J., DeFrain, J., & Jones, K.L.C. (2008). When a baby dies: Ambiguity and stillbirth. Marriage & Family Review, 44(4), 439-454.
Using qualitative data from families who experienced stillbirth, this article sensitively uses Pauline Boss’s framework on ambiguous loss to further understand the experience of grieving a stillborn baby.  The authors discuss stillbirth and families’ sense of it being an unseen loss and how families manage and live with loss.  (US)