The experience of mothers and fathers in cases of stillbirth in Spain. A qualitative study.


Faculty of Medicine, University Autonoma of Madrid, C/ Arzobispo Morcillo n° 4, Madrid 28029, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : To explore the experience of both the mothers and the fathers regarding the care received during delivery in cases of stillbirth.
METHODS : A hermeneutic phenomenological study based on semi-structured interviews with eleven mothers and fathers who experienced stillbirth.
METHODS : A purposive sample was recruited in Hospital XXX of XX and through a local pregnancy loss support organization.
METHODS : Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
RESULTS : Four main categories identified: 1) denial of grief, 2) the life and death paradox, 3) guilt, and 4) go through and overcome the loss. The parents manifested a lack of recognition of their loss and their parenthood. Although the midwife was the highest valued professional, not all the experiences were positive and the parents would have appreciated being accompanied by trained people with good communication skills. They also referred to in-hospital logistic barriers that complicated the process, as well as the fact that these births occurred in the same place where healthy deliveries were attended.
CONCLUSIONS : Findings highlight the importance of tailoring support systems according to mothers' and fathers' needs. Promoting social and institutional recognition of this kind of loss and training healthcare professionals in the accompaniment of this type of mourning is useful to plan comprehensive care to facilitate the initiation and subsequent evolution of healthy mourning.


Bereavement,Midwifery,Nursing care,Parents,Stillbirth,