Salgado, Heloisa de Oliveira et al. “The perinatal bereavement project: development and evaluation of supportive guidelines for families experiencing stillbirth and neonatal death in Southeast Brazil-a quasi-experimental before-and-after study.” Reproductive health vol. 18,1 5. 6 Jan. 2021, doi:10.1186/s12978-020-01040-4
For most parents, getting pregnant means having a child. Generally, the couple outlines plans and has expectations regarding the baby. When these plans are interrupted because of a perinatal loss, it turns out to be a traumatic experience for the family. Validating the grief of these losses has been a challenge to Brazilian society, which is evident considering the childbirth care offered to bereaved families in maternity wards. Positively assessed care that brings physical and emotional memories about the baby has a positive impact on the bereavement process that family undergoes. Therefore, this study aims to assess the effects supportive guidelines have on mental health. They were designed to assist grieving parents and their families while undergoing perinatal loss in public maternities in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo state, Brazil.
A mixed-methods (qualitative/quantitative), quasi-experimental (before/after) study. The intervention is the implementation of bereavement supportive guidelines for women who experienced a stillbirth or a neonatal death. A total of forty women will be included. Twenty participants will be assessed before and twenty will be assessed after the implementation of the guidelines. A semi-structured questionnaire and three scales will be used to assess the effects of the guidelines. Health care professionals and managers of all childbirth facilities will be invited to participate in focus group. Data will be analyzed using statistical tests, as well as thematic analysis approach.
The Perinatal Bereavement guidelines are a local adaptation of the Canadian and British corresponding guidelines. These guidelines have been developed based on the families’ needs of baby memories during the bereavement process and include the following aspects: (1) Organization of care into periods, considering their respective needs along the process; (2) Creation of the Bereavement Professional figure in maternity wards; (3) Adequacy of the institutional environment; (4) Communication of the guidance; (5) Creation of baby memories. We expect that the current project generates additional evidence for improving the mental health of women and families that experience a perinatal loss. Trial registration RBR-3cpthr For many couples, getting pregnant does not only mean carrying a baby, but also having a child. Most of the time, the couple has already made many plans and has expectations towards the child. When these plans are interrupted because of a perinatal loss, it turns out to be a traumatic experience for the family. In Brazilian culture, validating this traumatic grief is very difficult, especially when it happens too soon. The barriers can be noticed not only by the way society deals with the parents’ grief, but also when we see the care the grieving families receive from the health care establishment. Creating physical and emotional memories might bring the parents satisfaction regarding the care they receive when a baby dies. These memories can be built when there is good communication throughout the care received; shared decisions; the chance to see and hold the baby, as well as collect memories; privacy and continuous care during the whole process, including when there is a new pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period. With this in mind, among the most important factors are the training of health staff and other professionals, the preparation of the maternity ward to support bereaved families and the continuous support to the professionals involved in the bereavement. This article proposes guidelines to support the families who are experiencing stillbirth and neonatal death. It may be followed by childbirth professionals (nurses, midwives, obstetricians and employees of a maternity ward), managers, researchers, policymakers or those interested in developing specific protocols for their maternity wards.
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