Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 24, 2013

The impact of perinatal death on obstetrics nurses: a longitudinal and cross-sectional examination

Menachem Ben-Ezra, Yuval Palgi, Reut Walker, Ariel Many and Yaira Hamam-Raz


Mental health and well-being among obstetrics nurses after perinatal death are understudied. Beyond the normal strain imposed on obstetric nurses, exposure to perinatal death may add significant stress. Two studies were conducted on obstetrics nurses. In study 1, obstetrics nurses were measured longitudinally, at baseline (with no recent history of exposure to perinatal death in the past 3 months), and 3 months after (2 months after two consecutive events of perinatal death have occurred 1 month after baseline). In study 2, a cross-sectional study was conducted comparing obstetrics nurses with a history of perinatal death (nurses from study 1) to obstetrics nurses with no history of exposure to perinatal death in the past 6 months. The results of study 1 showed that obstetrics nurses showed a higher level of psychiatric symptoms [posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive, and psychosomatic symptoms] at time 2 (after exposure to perinatal death) in comparison to time 1. The results of study 2 showed a higher level of psychiatric symptoms (PTSD, depressive, and psychosomatic symptoms) in the exposed group in comparison to the non-exposed group. The effect of exposure to perinatal death is severe and needs to be addressed by developing intervention and preparation programs to help obstetric nurses cope with this critical incident.

Corresponding author: Prof. Menachem Ben-Ezra, PhD, School of Social Work, Ariel University Center of Samaria, Ariel 40700, Israel, Tel.: +972 3 6760285, Fax: +972 3 9066359, E-mail:


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The authors stated that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this article.

Received: 2013-4-2
Accepted: 2013-8-29
Published Online: 2013-09-24
Published in Print: 2014-01-01

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