Care and management of stillborn babies from the parents’ perspective: A phenomenological study

Jui Chiung Sun, Wenmay Rei, Min Yu Chang, Shuh Jen Sheu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aim: To explore parents’ perspective on hospital's care and management of the remains of stillborn babies. Background: Each year, 2.6 million of pregnancies end as stillbirth. Recent literature began to understand parents’ traumatic experience in stillbirth and its profound impact on parents’ mental health and psychosocial effect. But there is limited understanding on the actual care and management of the stillborn baby, nor is there an agreement on how hospitals should care for the stillborn baby to mitigate parents’ profound loss. Design: A descriptive phenomenological approach was applied to conduct this study. Methods: A purposive sample of twenty couples (40 individuals) who had encountered how to care for the remains of their stillborn babies participated in the study. The data were collected through in-depth interviews, which involved semi-structured and open-ended questions. The phenomenological methods of Giorgi were applied to analyse the data. The COREQ checklist was used preparing the manuscript. Results: Parents felt unprepared and lack of support when they had to handle their stillborn babies’ remains. The research results revealed two major themes: (1) Handling stillborn babies remain ignorantly; (2) Pacifying the disturbed soul on both sides. Conclusions: It was found in the study that reflection and identification were the emerging themes, which can enable healthcare professionals to understand parents’ concerns in a meaningful way, as they deal with the remains of stillborn babies. Moreover, it is hoped that hospital administration and health care personnel should consider stillborn parents’ concerns and incorporate their needs into nursing assessment and treatment practices. Relevance to clinical practice: Given stillbirth's profound implication for parents’ identity and psychosocial role, hospitals need to be more sensitive and proactive to parents’ cultural and religious needs when they care for stillborn baby and handle its body.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jul 2021


  • experience
  • phenomenology
  • post-mortem care
  • remains
  • stillbirth
  • termination of pregnancy


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