The World Conference on SIDS and stillbirth ISPID Florence 2023 – Baby Survival: Global Achievements and Future Challenges ended today. The ISPID International Conference, organized by the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death, under the sponsorship of Seeds for SIDS ONLUS and Meyer Foundation and the contribution of CiaoLapo, was held at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Florence, Italy, October 6-8, 2023. The theme of the conference was “Baby Survival: Global Achievements and Future Challenges,” aiming to deepen scientific knowledge and families’ experiences on the causes and prevention of perinatal death, SIDS and SUDI.
Precongressual activities began on October 5 with two symposia in Italian, the morning on SIDS, organized by Seeds for SIDS and the afternoon on stillbirth, organized by CiaoLapo.
The afternoon session, attended with scientific papers and testimonies by Micaela Darsena, Barbara Donadoni, Cristina Fiore, Francesca Monari, Laura Mosconi, Noemi Passalacqua, Cristina Petrozzi, Barbara Raffini, Claudia Ravaldi, Caterina Serena, and Alfredo Vannacci, was also streamed and the recording can be found on the CiaoLapo youtube channel.
The international conference was attended by more than 200 participants from around the world, including researchers, clinicians, health professionals, parents and activists. The scientific program included plenary sessions, symposia, workshops, oral and poster communications on various topics, including:
- Epidemiology and risk factors of perinatal and infant death
- Pathophysiological mechanisms and biomarkers of perinatal and infant death
- Primary and secondary prevention of perinatal and infant death
- Health and psychosocial care for families affected by perinatal and infant death
- Health and social policies for maternal and child health protection
- Education and awareness on the issue of perinatal and infant death
Among the Italian contributions, we highlight those presented by representatives of our association, which contributed to the work with two plenary lectures (Claudia Ravaldi and Alfredo Vannacci), two oral communications in parallel sessions (Claudia Ravaldi and Alfredo Vannacci), and five posters (Laura Mosconi, Claudia Ravaldi and Alfredo Vannacci).
The topics addressed by CiaoLapo’s contributions were:
- The Memory Box project, an online training for hospital staff on perinatal bereavement care, reached more than 2,000 health care workers from all over Italy. The training received a high degree of satisfaction from participants, both in terms of the quality of the content and the acquisition of new skills. POSTER
- The CLASS study, an observational study on the quality of perinatal bereavement care in Italy, based on international recommendations. The study involved 261 women who had experienced a perinatal death in the past 10 years and showed that adherence to the recommendations was associated with lower levels of bereavement and posttraumatic stress. POSTER
- The ShaDeS study, a study of shared decision making after perinatal death in Italy. The study enrolled 187 women and assessed their involvement in decisions regarding delivery and autopsy. The study found that only a minority of women experienced a shared approach, despite this being correlated with higher satisfaction with care. POSTER
- The study on the impact of pandemic COVID-19 on pregnant women with previous perinatal loss. The study compared 200 women with and without previous losses and found that the former had greater concerns for their own and their child’s health, fewer opportunities for support, and lower satisfaction with the care they received during the pandemic. SLIDES
- The COCOON project, a multicenter study on the quality of care for pregnant women during pandemic COVID-19, involved more than 2,000 women from 12 countries. The study highlighted the difficulties and concerns of women, especially those with previous perinatal losses, and the need to ensure respectful and individualized continuity of care. POSTER
- The experience of psychological telehealth to bereaved families during the pandemic. This is a free service offered by CiaoLapo association, which provides an initial telephone counseling and three online meetings with a psychotherapist who specializes in perinatal bereavement care. The service has received more than 500 requests from families affected by the loss of a child during pregnancy or after birth. POSTER
- The Rainbow Project on Psychotherapeutic Group for Pregnancy After Loss, offered by CiaoLapo, which supports women experiencing a new pregnancy after losing a baby. The group consists in 12 online meetings, led by two psychotherapists expert in perinatal grief, addressing issues of pregnancy after loss, using tools such as mindfulness, expressive techniques, and picture book therapy. SLIDES
In addition, the two plenary lectures focused on two important topics:
- Claudia Ravaldi: Conceiving the inconceivable: the representation of perinatal death in art and literature
- The lecture addressed how art and literature can be a raft for health professionals and families facing perinatal grief, an inconceivable event that opens a chasm in the lives of parents. Through several examples of artistic and literary works depicting perinatal death, Claudia Ravaldi highlighted the main themes that emerge in this context, such as the recognition of motherhood, dealing with the empty cradle, saying goodbye to the baby, the bodily aspects of loss, subsequent pregnancies, and reconstructing the meaning of life. Claudia Ravaldi argues that art and literature can provide a space for expression, reflection, sharing, and healing for healthcare professionals and families, helping them to grieve and regain hope.
- Alfredo Vannacci: OPALE Observatory on PerinatAL hEalth. A permanent investigation on perinatal loss in Italy
- The report outlined the objectives, methods and results of the OPALE project, which aims to monitor and analyze data on perinatal mortality in Italy, comparing them with international data and identifying possible causes and prevention strategies. Vannacci showed that the perinatal mortality rate in Italy is 2.4 per 1,000 live births, lower than the European average (3.7) but higher than other countries such as Finland (1.7), also highlighting the important regional disparities in epidemiology and care. On this basis, important topics such as respectful care for women and families, facing stigma, and the role of fathers were addressed. There was no shortage of references to new technologies such as serious gaming in perinatal health and artificial intelligence.
The conference concluded with a memorial ceremony at the Istituto degli Innocenti, where the ribbon of love made by CiaoLapo parents was displayed and testimonies from CiaoLapo and Seeds for SIDS parents and caregivers were heard. Also, at the close of the evening, the Istituto degli Innocenti was lit up in pink and blue, kicking off the celebrations of Babyloss Awareness Week 2023 (www.babyloss.info).
For more information about the ISPID 2023 conference, you can visit the official website ispid2023florence.com.