Social impacts of stillbirth: a systematic review (international)


A third recent systematic review of stillbirth research (we have already reported on two of them) focuses on the social consequences of stillbirth. The review covered 144 studies during the period 2000 to 2015.

Stillbirth can impact significantly on family relationships. Arguments, even divorce, can follow. Sometimes mothers are blamed by partners and other family members and are poorly supported within families.

Grandparents, siblings, surviving twins and subsequent children can be affected.

Some of the studies include the perspective of fathers. Problems can include: suppression of grief and feeling a failure leading to longer-term psychological problems; employment difficulties; lack of acknowledgement of their feelings and inadequate inclusion in support.

The study adds to the evidence that support after stillbirth should be family inclusive, building on the resources and strengths within families to move on from the tragedy.


Burden C, Bradley S, Storey C, Ellis A, Heazell AEP, Downe S, Cacciatore J & Siassakos D (2016), From grief, guilt pain and stigma to hope and pride – a systematic review and meta-analysis of mixed-method research of the psychosocial impact of stillbirth, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 16

Photo: Andi Jetaime. Creative Commons.