grief, infant death, neonatal death, palliative care, perinatal death



  1. Sumner, Lizabeth H. BSN, RN
  2. Kavanaugh, Karen PhD, RN, FAAN
  3. Moro, Teresa AM, LSW


Many infants die immediately prior to birth or in the neonatal period; thus, it is imperative that we begin to recognize the importance of integrating palliative care into pregnancy and the immediate newborn period. While advances in perinatal care have changed the decisions parents face when they receive a diagnosis of a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, the importance of perinatal palliative care has only recently been recognized as a viable option for care. Perinatal palliative care emphasizes the importance of planning for the limited amount of time families may have with their baby. This article provides a brief overview of perinatal palliative care, with a focus on who may benefit, the goals of care, and what services are provided. There is also a review of current palliative care programs and a discussion of how nurses can become more involved in this much-needed area of infant care.