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BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2018 Jan 10;18(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s12884-017-1630-z.

Care quality following intrauterine death in Spanish hospitals: results from an online survey.

Author information

1
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencia Política y Sociología, Somosaguas, Pozuelo de Alarcon, 28223, Madrid, Spain. pcassidy@ucm.es.
2
Umamanita (Stillbirth Charity), C/ Hierbabuena 15, Esc B, 4 Izq, 28039, Madrid, Spain. pcassidy@ucm.es.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The objective of the study was to evaluate practices in Spanish hospitals after intrauterine death in terms of medical/ technical care and bereavement support care.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional descriptive study using an online self-completion questionnaire. The population was defined as women who had experienced an intrauterine fetal death between sixteen weeks and birth, either through spontaneous late miscarriage/stillbirth or termination of pregnancy for medical reasons. Respondents were recruited through an online advertisement on a stillbirth charity website and social media. The analysis used Pearson's chi-squared (p ≤ 0.05) test of independence to cross-analyse for associations between objective measures of care quality and independent variables.

RESULTS:

Responses from 796 women were analysed. Half of the women (52.9%) had postmortem contact with their baby. 30.4% left the hospital with a least one linking object or a photograph. In 35.8% of cases parents weren't given any option to recover the body/remains. 22.9% of births ≥26 weeks gestation were by caesarean, with a significant (p < 0.001) difference between public hospitals (16.8%) and private hospitals (41.5%). 29.3% of respondents were not accompanied during the delivery. 48.0% of respondents recalled being administered sedatives at least once during the hospital stay. The autopsy rate in stillbirth cases (≥ 20 weeks) was 70.5% and 44.4% in cases of termination of pregnancy (all gestational ages). Consistent significant (p < 0.05) differences in care practices were found based on gestational age and type of hospital (public or private), but not to other variables related to socio-demographics, pregnancy history or details of the loss/death. Intrauterine deaths at earlier gestational ages received poorer quality care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Supportive healthcare following intrauterine death is important to women's experiences in the hospital and beneficial to the grief process. Many care practices that are standard in other high-income countries are not routine in Spanish hospitals. Providing such care is a relatively new phenomenon in the Spanish health system, the results provide a quality benchmark and identify a number of areas where hospitals could make improvements to care practices that should have important psychosocial benefits for women and their families.

KEYWORDS:

Hospital care; Late miscarriage; Linking objects; Mode of delivery; Perinatal autopsy; Perinatal bereavement; Postmortem contact; Sedatives; Stillbirth; Termination of pregnancy

PMID:
29321000
PMCID:
PMC5763533
DOI:
10.1186/s12884-017-1630-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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