When a Baby Dies: A Systematic Review of Experimental Interventions for Women after Stillbirth

Jennifer L. Huberty, Jeni Matthews, Jenn Leiferman, Janice Hermer, Joanne Cacciatore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives: To identify and evaluate intervention studies (ie, experimental study in which the participants undergo some kind of intervention in order to evaluate its impact) that target mental and/or physical health outcomes in women who have experienced stillbirth and to provide specific recommendations for future research and intervention work. Methods: A librarian conducted an initial search using CINAHL, Cochrane Library, PsycInfo, PubMed, SocIndex, and Web of Knowledge in the spring of 2016. Reference mining provided further articles. Articles were eligible if they were: (1) published in English, (2) published in a peer-reviewed journal, (3) published in 1980 or later, (4) an intervention that evaluated (qualitative or quantitative methods) mental and/or physical health, and (5) included women who had experienced a stillbirth (in utero fetal death at ≥20 weeks of gestation). Results: The combined searches produced 2733 articles (including duplicates). After duplicate articles were removed (n = 928), the research team screened the titles, abstracts, and full texts (when necessary) for eligibility (n = 1805). Two articles were identified that met our eligibility criteria. Conclusion for Practice: There is a lack of intervention research in women with stillbirth. It is imperative to develop and implement interventions to improve both mental and physical health in this population, especially in the interconception period (ie, stillbirth aftercare). Future intervention research is needed to determine appropriate support and efficacious delivery of support interventions, feasibility and effectiveness of physical activity interventions and complementary approaches, appropriate timing and dose of interventions, and culturally sensitive interventions appropriate for racial/ethnic minority women with stillbirth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-975
Number of pages9
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • interventions
  • perinatal loss
  • stillbirth
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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