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Parents hold a deceased infant in their arms in a hospital bed.
Figure 26.1 Perinatal Loss Loss affects parents individually and as a couple. (credit: “Grieving Stillbirth Together” by Heidi/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Planning a pregnancy and growing a family is typically a joyful, exciting time. Unfortunately, pregnancy can also be a time of sadness, anxiety, and grief. When a loss occurs during the pregnancy, labor, birth, or newborn period, families often deal with feelings of anger, guilt, distress, and emptiness. Families want answers to how and why this could happen. Obstetric and newborn nurses can help by providing emotional and physical support, referrals to counseling and support groups, and assistance with contacting funeral homes. The nurse plays a vital role in helping families to cope and heal during this time of loss. This chapter will cover perinatal loss and bereavement.

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