• perinatal death;
  • fetal death;
  • infant death;
  • newborn death with subsequent pregnancy


Objective: To review the research literature on the parental experience of pregnancy, primarily maternal, subsequent to perinatal loss.

Data Sources: Computerized searches on CINAHL and PubMed databases.

Study Selection: Articles from indexed journals relevant to the objective were reviewed from January 1997 to December 2007. Only research-based studies in English were included.

Data Extraction: The review was performed using the methodology of Whittemore and Knafl (2005). Data were extracted and organized under headings: author/year/setting; purpose; sample; design/instruments; results; and nursing implications for parents during a pregnancy following a perinatal loss.

Data Synthesis: Depression and anxiety are frequently seen in pregnant women subsequent to a perinatal loss. The parental experience is filled with intense and conflicting emotions as parents balance being hopeful while worrying about another potential loss.

Conclusions: It is important for health care providers to evaluate the woman's obstetric history, acknowledge and validate previous perinatal loss, and discuss with her what would be helpful during the prenatal period with respect to the previous perinatal loss.