The most painful estrangement: Death at birth


The most painful estrangement: Death at birth


Cacciatore J


Seminars in Perinatology




article; human; social support; palliative therapy; coping; mourning; stillbirth; guilt; depression; emotion; identity; suicide; posttraumatic stress disorder; personal experience; bereavement; avoidance behavior; emotional stress; child death; prevalence; decision making; family history; regret; emotional support; lactation; sadness; fear; continuing education; sorrow; community care; stigma; spontaneous abortion; self concept; shame; loneliness; alienation; complicated grief/dt [Drug Therapy]; family stress; naltrexone/dt [Drug Therapy]; rage; social bonding; traffic accident


More than two million babies a year die during or before birth around the world, evoking grief that is traumatic. Because the psychological, physical, social, and emotional ramifications of grief following a baby's death are so enduring and intense, social support is essential to helping families cope. In particular, emotional acts of caring and judicious use of language are crucial, avoiding the use of the terms that belittle the value of the baby's life and the importance of the baby as part of a family history. Traumatic grief informed continuing education can aid providers in increasing sensitivity to the needs of grieving families and minimize additional trauma and suffering in the aftermath of such loss.


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April List 2024



Cacciatore J, “The most painful estrangement: Death at birth,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 20, 2024,