This article is based upon two systematic reviews of qualitative research, both evaluating more than 1100 articles from 1966 to 2006. Both of the systematic reviews address parents’ experiences of hospital care surrounding foetal and early infant loss. The term “perinatal death” will in this article refer to foetal deaths in the second and third trimester of pregnancy as well as “neonatal deaths” occurring in the first 28 days after birth. In 2006, 2258 perinatal deaths were registered in Australia. Even though there has been a reduction in perinatal deaths over the last ten years (9.2 per 1000 births in 1997 to 8.5 per 1000 births in 2006), the number is still significant. Losing a child during the late stages of pregnancy or in the first weeks after birth is a devastating experience for most parents. For many reasons perinatal loss is different from other losses. As Bennett, Lee, Litz and Maguen, 2005 put it, “When an adult dies, a piece of the past is lost; however, when an infant dies, a piece of the future is lost, or significantly changed forever.” Hopes and expectations are replaced by loss and grief.
HNE Handover for Nurses and Midwives Vol. 2, Issue 1, p. 49-50