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Title: The experience of losing a wanted baby in the pre-natal period
Author: Riches, Samantha
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 0524
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2006
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Many parents lose a wanted baby late on in their pregnancy: for example, in England and Wales 0.5% of all pregnancies end in stillbirth after 24 weeks gestation. Increasing attention has been paid to the psychological impact of perinatal loss on families since the 1970s. Losing a baby has been demonstrated to have a variety of psychological sequelae for families: perinatal death is now accepted as a significant loss, and hospital management allows parents the option of spending time with their dead infant and taking mementoes home with them. In the present study four couples were interviewed and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to explore their experiences of losing an infant and the hospital management of the event. The couples had all lost a wanted baby in the prenatal period, losses ranged from 20 weeks to full-term. Three of the couples had unexpected losses, and one couple elected to terminate their pregnancy in the final trimester after serious foetal abnormalities were confirmed. Seven superordinate themes emerged from the analysis covering the immediate event of the loss, problems parents faced and the powerlessness they felt, the decision making process regarding whether to see their baby, how parents coped with their loss, the future, the impact of parental views regarding attachment and foetal personhood on their experiences and the cultural context of responses to grief and perinatal loss. Parents made different choices about whether to spend time with their baby after the loss, and what rituals to engage in. It is hoped that this study can help understanding of the complicated decision-making process that parents go through and highlight the importance of empathetic and sensitive treatment by staff.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available