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Adaptation following perinatal loss: a critical review.


Parental adaptation following perinatal loss has received increasing attention in the past 20 years. From early anecdotal accounts to recent more rigorous investigations, it is clear that perinatal loss in the developed world is a significant psychological trauma for parents. Major immediate consequences are likely for virtually all affected families, and long-term sequelae are likely for some. Despite widespread attention to the experience of families who lose a stillborn or newborn infant, including major changes in hospital practices regarding management of these families, many important questions remain unanswered. We know little, for instance, about which parents are at greatest risk for disordered mourning or what additional measures might minimize their psychological morbidity. In fact, because of a tendency to focus exclusively on affective symptomatology following the loss, other important features of the process of mourning have been overlooked or examined unsystematically. Suggestions for specific and general directions for further research are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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