National survey of obstetrician attitudes about timing the subsequent pregnancy after perinatal death

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Apr;202(4):357.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2009.11.039. Epub 2010 Jan 15.


Objective: After stillbirth or early infant death, parents often query when they can try for another pregnancy. We conducted a national survey of US obstetricians to assess attitudes about optimal timing of next pregnancy and advice given to parents.

Study design: The study was an anonymous mail survey of 1500 randomly selected US obstetricians asking about physician experiences with perinatal death.

Results: In all, 804 of 1500 obstetricians completed the survey for a 54% usable response rate. Two-thirds of respondents endorsed a waiting time <6 months for parents bereaved by stillbirth who desired another pregnancy.

Conclusion: Physicians in this national survey supported very short interpregnancy intervals for parents bereaved by perinatal death. Responses may reflect efforts to support parents emotionally while recognizing individuals vary in coping and clinical circumstances. However, this is a provocative finding since short intervals may confer greater fetal risks for poor outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Bereavement
  • Birth Intervals / psychology*
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obstetrics*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Physicians*
  • Pregnancy
  • Stillbirth / psychology*