Parents' Experience Surrounding the Death of a Newborn Whose Birth Is at the Margin of Viability

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ObjectiveTo describe the experience of parents surrounding the death of a newborn weighing less than 500 g at birth.DesignDescriptive, using an eidetic phenomenologic approach.SettingInterviews were conducted in the parents' homes or by telephone between 4 and 15 weeks after the loss.ParticipantsEight parents (five mothers and three of their husbands) who had experienced the death of a newborn weighing less than 500 g at birth.Main Outcome MeasuresThe lived parental experience of the death of a newborn consists of a number of parental processes, responses, and activities that occur over time.ResultsFive themes were generated from the data: (a) realization that the loss is occurring; (b) initial response to the loss; (c) decision making at the time of the loss; (d) components of supportive relationships with others; and (e) the adjustment at home.ConclusionsThe findings demonstrate the unique experience of having a newborn who is born at the margin of viability and support the need for individualized, caring-based interventions for parents.

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