Stillbirths occur too often, with an estimated 2.6 million stillbirths worldwide in 2015, leaving a lasting and a profound impact on women, families, communities, and healthcare workers. Sadly, however, the care received by women and their families at this time is often deficient and inconsistent. Recognising this, the 2016 Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirth Series called for a ‘global consensus on a package of care after a death in pregnancy or childbirth… for the affected family, community and caregiver in all settings’.
Recent systematic reviews of care after stillbirth have shown comparable findings across low, middle and high-income settings, in the experiences of women, their families and healthcare workers after stillbirth. Women experience a broad range of manifestations of grief which may not be recognised by healthcare workers, or in their communities. This exacerbates negative experiences of stigmatisation, blame, devaluation, and loss of social status. Conversely, positive attitudes and support during bereavement from family, communities and healthcare workers improves bereavement experience.
A set of evidence-based core recommendations for bereavement care, that are both feasible and useful, are needed as a matter of urgency.
A workshop of international expert stakeholders, in partnership with the International Stillbirth Alliance, met in September 2017 and identified nine ‘core recommendations’ for stillbirth bereavement care. The next step in the consensus process is to seek the views of healthcare workers and other stakeholders in a range of settings by means of an online survey. We aim to achieve a truly global perspective by expanding this consultation as widely as possible.
Please find the link for the survey below, it should not take more than 10 minutes to complete. Please complete it yourself and pass it on to your colleagues and stakeholders in all settings!
Stillbirth Bereavement Consensus Team