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J Pak Med Assoc. 2014 Mar;64(3):331-3.

Stillbirth--a neglected priority: understanding its social meaning in Pakistan.


Despite being ranked 3rd among the countries having highest burden of stillbirths, it remains a neglected priority in Pakistan. We review the evidence regarding social and biomedical understanding of stillbirths by both communities and healthcare providers. The terminology used to define stillbirth worldwide remains inconsistent. Not only do the health professionals mis-classify and under-report stillbirths, but also the parents and families are unclear about the difference between miscarriage, stillbirth and early neonatal deaths. Stillbirths occur more in poor families and are not recognised by tradition and religion as a loss comparable to a newborn who was born alive. There is need to understand perspective of communities and healthcare providers to identify prevention and management strategies along with providing support for coping with the implications of stillbirths. Future government policies on stillbirths must be informed by the influence of culture on the attitudes, beliefs and practices of the communities and the healthcare providers.

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