Memory Box – Prenatal: an investigation into assistance in stillbirth.

by Claudia Ravaldi
CiaoLapo Onlus
CiaoLapo Onlus

If you had a prenatal loss event during 2015, you can participate in the CiaoLapo ‘Memory box – prenatal’ survey on the assistance received in the event of intrauterine death. The survey is aimed at all women who have had at least one episode of abortion or intrauterine death, at any gestational age. During 2017 CiaoLapo will publish a book dedicated to assisting pregnancy loss in Italy. The book will describe in a qualitative and quantitative way the experiences collected by our non-profit organization between 2010 and 2015.

Losing a child during pregnancy affects not only the psychological health and the overall well-being of the parents, but also the relationship of the parents with the children present and with the pregnancies and the children to come. The literature agrees in underlining that pregnancies following a loss , especially if due to fetal pathology or intrauterine death, are characterized by very high levels of anxiety that also compromise parenting and relational involvement with the child.

All this suggests the need to structure effective prevention protocols, in an attempt to allow parents a good process of mourning, avoiding the repercussions of the loss on their mental health and on the “health” of subsequent pregnancies. Unfortunately, in most cases , women discharged after an abortion, premature birth, or intrauterine death do not find the support they would need in their socio-health network . Many are simply advised to use tranquilizers or seek a psychologist or psychiatrist; this kind of advice is often not of any help because bereavement in itself is not a disease , and parents do not feel that specialist help is adequate but require comparison and support from personnel with experience in the field of perinatal loss.

The main international guidelines propose a series of interventions by health personnel in relation to the behavior to be followed in front of parents who have lost a child during the perinatal period. Among these, for example , the creation of memories of the child is encouraged , such as seeing him, holding him in his arms, taking photographs, storing objects that have characterized him (eg identification bracelet) etc etc. On the other hand, this attitude is almost absent in Italian hospitals , where the dominant culture plans to try to erase the memory of the child as quickly as possible, in the illusion that this can facilitate the process of mourning.

CiaoLapo Onlus promotes a collection of information on the assistance received in the event of intrauterine death by means of the “Memory Box” questionnaire (Ravaldi, Minniti, Vannacci, 2008). The objective of this questionnaire is to gather information and opinions on the assistance received at the time of diagnosis and delivery, with particular attention to how the mother lived this dramatic experience .
The aim is to understand if there have been moments, people, behaviors that have been helpful and on the contrary if there have been other useless or even harmful ones. If there were things that the mother would have liked to have been handled differently in retrospect, others that she would have wanted and that have not been done, or that have not been proposed.
At the end of the Memory box, the Perinatal Mourning Scale previously translated and validated by us has been inserted (Perinatal Grief Scale – Potvin, Lasker, Toedter, 1987. Italian version by Ravaldi and Vannacci, CiaoLapo Onlus 2008)
The questionnaire is anonymous and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete; all mothers affected by intrauterine death at any gestational age can participate.

CiaoLapo Onlus thanks all the mothers who decide to participate in our survey. Each testimony is precious to improve assistance for abortion and intrauterine death in our country.

To participate in the survey, simply click on this link:


NB: The survey was open from 2010 to 2014. For those of you who have not yet participated in the questionnaire and want to do so, we have decided to keep the recruitment open until the end of April 2016. Anyone who has had a prenatal loss event during 2015 , and anyone who has had it before but has never completed this questionnaire, can answer.

Obviously, those who have already replied in the past must NOT reply again.

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