Chains of Grief: The Impact of Perinatal Loss on Subsequent Pregnancy

By Peterson, Gayle PhD, Msw | Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal, Winter 1994 | Go to article overview

Chains of Grief: The Impact of Perinatal Loss on Subsequent Pregnancy


Peterson, Gayle PhD, Msw, Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal


ABSTRACT: This paper identifies women who are at greater potential for medical complications in their pregnancies due to post traumatic stress resulting from previous perinatal loss. The loss may have been suffered by the woman herself during a past pregnancy or she may have inherited heightened anxiety from perinatal loss experienced by her mother. In the latter case, the unresolved grief is transmitted from mother to daughter, affecting physiological, emotional and behavioral patterns in the next generation. Pregnancy presents an opportunity for healing. Given effective prenatal counseling by a trained clinician, perinatal loss issues can be addressed through body-centered hypnosis so that history does not repeat itself. Left untreated, post traumatic stress can produce crippling anxiety for the pregnant woman, contributing to complications of pregnancy, childbirth and even parenting.

The family who loses a newborn infant (or fetus through miscarriage or stillbirth) endures a deep tragedy. When asked, many families who have experienced perinatal death have said that the death of a newborn hurts as much as the death of an older child, spouse or parent. The loss is different: one mourns unfulfilled life. However, the love and expectations that go into anticipating a life that will not be fulfilled are usually greatly underestimated by those who have not experienced such a loss.

Richard Marshall

Medical research has documented the impact of emotional stress on the outcome of pregnancy and childbirth (Lederman, et al., 1978; Levenson and Shnider, 1979; Gotsuch and Key, 1974, Peterson et al., 1988) as well as substantiating a critical period for bonding. (Klaus et al., 1972; Kennel, et al., 1975). The impact of emotional support on the length of labor and facilitation of maternal-infant interaction immediately following birth has also verified the importance of the emotional and psychological aspects of medical care during the perinatal period (Sosa, et al., 1980). However, little research has been done on the impact of perinatal loss on subsequent pregnancy and prenatal bonding, despite the fact that it is one of the most emotionally charged issues that a woman may have to deal with during the course of a subsequent pregnancy.

Although some authors have attempted to identify the needs of bereft parents (Benreid and Nichols, 1981; Marshall, 1981) there has been little research done to explore the impact on a subsequent pregnancy, or information about what can be done to help women resolve grief prenatally. The purpose of this paper is to share the importance of addressing these needs during pregnancy, and the use of body-centered hypnosis in the context of a preventive prenatal counseling program as a method of choice to reduce anxiety and resolve loss, making way for the potential birth of another child.

Women who have endured previous perinatal loss have greater emotional adjustments to a new pregnancy, including fear of another loss, which has impact not only on attachment to the unborn fetus but also may precipitate heightened fear and panic states throughout the pregnancy and into the labor process. Little had been done in standard prenatal care to help this special needs population. In my clinical experiences, it is evident that women who have endured loss in the perinatal period are at greater risk for future miscarriage, prematurity and complications of childbirth. As these women approach a subsequent pregnancy, attachment and loyalty to the previous child resurfaces, often making it difficult for the mother to form an attachment to the next pregnancy. When loss remains unresolved, disruption in bonding and attachment can affect not only the immediate maternal-infant relationship, but can have substantial impact on successive generations.

Women who have absorbed the impact of their mother's unresolved prenatal loss during their own childhood are particularly vulnerable to high levels of anxiety and fear during pregnancy, childbirth and the ongoing maternal-child relationship. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Chains of Grief: The Impact of Perinatal Loss on Subsequent Pregnancy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.