Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Perinatal death-Psychological aspects, Miscarriage-Psychological aspects, Stillbirth-Psychological aspects, Social work with women, Family social work, Pregnancy loss, Perinatal social work, Perinatal loss, Stillbirth, Miscarriage, OB/GYN social work


Approximately 10 to 15 percent of known pregnancies worldwide end in miscarriage and an additional one in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Because of a lack of evidence-based research to support interventions in this work, social workers have come to rely on their own practical experience. This study investigated social workers' professional practice experience in order to outline the frequency and impact of pregnancy loss and to assess the formation and maintenance of current practices for effective and efficient treatment. This study utilized indepth, qualitative interviews to further understand how clinicians in this field define and conceptualize their work. The major findings from this set of data were in the areas of: preparatory experience, fundamental approach to patients, and the ways in which clinicians continue to educate themselves on the topic of pregnancy loss. Two important themes emerged from clinicians' experiences in perinatal social work; the first was the impact of clinicians' personal experiences with childbirth and child rearing and the second was the ways in which social workers understood their roles within interdisciplinary teams. Based on the experiences of these 11 perinatal social workers, the study showed that being effective in this work, at least initially, requires that clinician's are able to adapt prior experiences, be flexible and open about their role, and that they understand the intense, psychological impact of pregnancy loss on patients and families




iii, 52 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 41-45)