Sharing experiences to improve bereavement support and clinical care after stillbirth: report of the 7th annual meeting of the International Stillbirth Alliance

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2013 Mar;92(3):352-61. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12042. Epub 2012 Dec 14.


Stillbirth remains a global health challenge which is greatly affected by social and economic inequality, particularly the availability and quality of maternity care. The International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA) exists to raise awareness of stillbirth and to promote global collaboration in the prevention of stillbirth and provision of appropriate care for parents whose baby is stillborn. The focus of this ISA conference was to share experiences to improve bereavement support and clinical care. These issues, relevant throughout the globe, are not discrete but closely interrelated, with both similarities and differences depending on the specific country and cultural context. Counting stillbirths and understanding the causes of stillbirth are essential not only for providing optimal care and support to parents whose babies die, but also for reducing the future burden of stillbirth. This summary highlights novel work from obstetricians, midwives, psychologists, parents and peer support organizations that was presented at the ISA meeting. It covers topics including the bereavement process, peer support for parents, support and training for staff, evidence for clinical care, and the need for accurate data on stillbirths and perinatal audits. Representatives from the maternity services of the region presented their outcome data and shared their experiences of clinical and bereavement care. Data and developments in practice within stillbirth and bereavement care must be widely disseminated and acted upon by those responsible for maternity care provision, both to prevent stillbirths and to provide high-quality care when they do occur.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Bereavement*
  • Cause of Death
  • Fathers / psychology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology*
  • Fetal Death / therapy
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Nurse Midwives / psychology
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Postnatal Care / psychology*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Social Support
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*
  • Stillbirth / psychology*