The management of stillbirth: coping with an unreality

Lancet. 1976 Sep 18;2(7986):619-20. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(76)90680-2.


With about 1 stillbirth occurring in every 80 deliveries, stillbirth is a common tragedy. Yet it is an event which, by common consent, is cloaked in secrecy, and which by its very nature seems unreal. There are thus strong forces operating on the bereaved mother and her family, and on the professionals who care for them, to keep the crisis of stillbirth hidden away, therby in fact hindering the mourning and healing process. Bourne has produced statistical evidence to show that family docotrs are astonishingly reluctant to know or remember anything about the patient who has had a stillbirth. I would like to put forward some suggestions for helping doctors to overcome their reluctance to face the problem of stillbirth.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Fetal Death*
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress, Psychological