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Keywords:

  • stillbirth;
  • perinatal loss;
  • grounded theory;
  • decision making;
  • pregnancy

Introduction

This study sought to increase understanding of women's thoughts and feelings about decision making and the experience of subsequent pregnancy following stillbirth (intrauterine death after 24 weeks’ gestation).

Methods

Eleven women were interviewed, 8 of whom were pregnant at the time of the interview. Modified grounded theory was used to guide the research methodology and to analyze the data.

Results

A model was developed to illustrate women's experiences of decision making in relation to subsequent pregnancy and of subsequent pregnancy itself.

Discussion

The results of the current study have significant implications for women who have experienced stillbirth and the health professionals who work with them. Based on the model, women may find it helpful to discuss their beliefs in relation to healing and health professionals to provide support with this in mind. Women and their partners may also benefit from explanations and support about the potentially conflicting emotions they may experience during this time.