miscarriage, neonatal death, perinatal loss, stillbirth



  1. Callister, Lynn Clark PhD, RN, FAAN


Perinatal loss is a profound experience for childbearing families. Examples of perinatal loss include miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, neonatal death, and other losses. Perinatal loss engenders a unique kind of mourning since the child is so much a part of the parental identity. Societal expectations for mourning associated with perinatal loss are noticeably absent. Gender differences in response to such loss, as well as sibling and grandparent grief have been identified in the literature. Descriptive studies provide information on cultural responses to perinatal loss. Nursing interventions have been refined over the past two decades as research studies have been performed, in order to more fully promote health and healing in the face of perinatal loss. These include helping to create meaning through the sharing of the story of parental loss, the facilitation of sociocultural rituals associated with loss, the provision of tangible mementos, sensitive presence, and the validation of the loss. Outcome evaluations of such interventions are recommended.