Stillborn children: photographs may help the healing

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Goodfellow Gems

Stillborn children: photographs may help the healing

A January 2017 Radio Australia Health Report podcast talked about stillborn babies and the issue of how clinicians’ handling of this can traumatise the parents or when done well, can lead to a valued experience.1 

One very helpful action was to offer to have photographs taken of the baby by volunteer photographers from the Heartfelt Foundation (an Australian Foundation with a New Zealand chapter - they also photograph premature babies and children with terminal illnesses).2 

Parents reported that having photographs of their stillborn child created a valuable memory.

Viewing and handling of the stillborn was also considered to be important. One couple stayed in hospital for a week with their stillborn child and reported that it was a very positive experience. Clinician discomfort and avoidance of the issue seemed to cause the most heartbreak. 


  1. Radio Australia podcast: A stillborn inequity. Click here 
  2. Heartfelt Foundation Australia, inc New Zealand contact information. Click here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

As published in NZ Doctor 26/4/2017