Items in AFP with MESH term: Stillbirth
ABSTRACT: Unexpected adverse fetal and neonatal outcomes (e.g., stillbirth, birth trauma, congenital anomalies) present a crisis for the family and the medical care team. In cases of stillbirth, the family physician should be flexible in supporting the parents’ choices, validate the loss, and work as a team with the nursing staff. Psychosocial support includes offering counseling services, assessing women for postpartum depression and anxiety, and considering the effect of the loss on the entire family. Although infants with birth asphyxia or major anomalies may require transfer to facilities with a neonatal intensive care unit, the physician will usually provide ongoing care for the mother in the postpartum period. A comprehensive assessment can determine the etiology of fetal demise in most cases, which may guide future preconception and maternity care. Women with a previous adverse pregnancy outcome may have increased psychological stress in a subsequent pregnancy. Knowledge of community resources will facilitate care for the mother and her partner or family. Physicians may need to seek peer support to cope with their own feelings of loss.