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Perinatal bereavement

Perinatal bereavement is a painful experience involving the loss of a child during pregnancy, delivery or shortly after birth. This bereavement is a complex experience often marked by intense emotions for all those directly or indirectly affected.

No perinatal bereavement is the same as another. Bereavement may follow a miscarriage, a stillbirth, a neonatal death or abortion. Whatever the reason for the bereavement, all these experiences are real and no less difficult to overcome.

Moreover, people who are unable to conceive for medical or social reasons may also experience perinatal bereavement.

Are you suffering from perinatal bereavement? Would like to discuss your situation with someone you trust? A empathetic counsellor is on hand to listen to you without judgement. Don't hesitate to contact us for support to get through this situation.


  • Medical abortion

    Medical (or therapeutic) abortion is the act of terminating a pregnancy when there is a risk of developmental complications for the fetus or when the health of the pregnant person is at risk.

    This operation can be very distressing for the loved ones of the pregnant person. They can also benefit from psychological support during this ordeal.

  • Abortion

    Abortion by medication or instruments is one of the available pregnancy outcome options. It's not always an easy decision to make, regardless of whether it's the right one for you or your health.

    Sometimes, following the decision to terminate a pregnancy, you may experience emotions related to the end of the pregnancy. Our online listening and chat services provide a confidential, neutral space where you can talk about what you're going through. Contact us if you have any questions.

Grossesse-secours Perinatal bereavement
I had a miscarriage; Having a miscarriage is anything but ordinary. Four women who’ve experienced the loss of their baby have agreed to talk to us about it. (RAD Vidéo, April 22, 2022).


  • Miscarriage

    Miscarriage refers to the loss of an embryo or fetus (less than 500g) before the 20th week of pregnancy. There are several medical reasons for miscarriage, including genetic, anatomical or hormonal factors.

    In early pregnancy, a clear egg diagnosis is also possible, which means that fertilization has taken place, but no embryo developed.

    A miscarriage is much more common than you might think. Approximately one pregnancy in five ends in miscarriage. This occurrence can have an emotional and physical impact on you.

    If you feel the need to talk, Grossesse-Secours is there to welcome and listen to you.

  • Stillbirth (fetal death)

    Stillbirth, also known as fetal death, is the death of a fetus (more than 500g) in the uterus of a pregnant person during pregnancy or childbirth, at any stage of pregnancy.

    This experience can be difficult for the pregnant person and those around them. Our helpline and chat service are available so that together we discuss the resources available with you.

  • Neonatal death

    Neonatal death is the death of a baby born alive during its first four weeks of life.

    Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is defined as the unexpected death of a healthy child for no apparent medical reason, and usually occurs while the child is asleep.

    Grieving the loss of a baby can be complicated and upsetting for everyone involved. Don't hesitate to contact us for confidential and anonymous listening and support.

Medical infertility and social

  • Medical infertility

    Medical infertility is characterized by the inability of a person or couple to conceive despite regular attempts over a period of at least 12 months. This can be the result of a variety of medical problems, including fertility disorders, anatomical problems, hormonal imbalances or genetics. Factors such as age (reduced fertility from the age of 35), disability or general health problems are also at cause.

    Medical interventions can remedy the situation, including fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproduction methods. Medical infertility can be a distressing experience. However, since Grossesse-Secours isn’t a fertility clinic, we cannot provide you with medical advice. However, if you need to talk, we’ll listen and support you. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Social infertility

    Social infertility refers to the inability of a person or couple to start a family due to social, economic or personal constraints.

    These include celibacy, professional careers, environmental concerns, overpopulation, financial insecurity, immigration, and sexual and gender diversity.

    Social infertility raises complex societal issues stemming from family norms and social pressures. Social infertility is more about voluntary decisions, although these are not always easy to accept.

    Whether it's a choice or not, social infertility can bring on emotions akin to grief and cause distress. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to contact us to talk about it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be affected by perinatal bereavement?

Anyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by an abortion or by not being able to becoming a parent may feel affected.

Although bereavement is experienced and expressed differently from one person to the next, the suffering remains a common experience for everyone.

Whether it's the person who experienced the pregnancy or the partner(s), perinatal bereavement is not always easy to go through and can take time. This bereavement can impact various aspects of the lives of those concerned, including their emotional, psychocognitive, relational, medical, economic and moral health. Seeking specialized help and the support of those around you can make a big difference in the grieving process.

Will I be able to overcome my grief?

Whether the bereavement is recent or past, it will always be present in your life story. The course of perinatal bereavement, like any other bereavement, isn’t linear. You will go through different stages of grief, which won’t be easy. It’s very important to go at your own pace to get through it.

If you need to talk, one of our counsellors will be there to listen and will respect your pace and support you.

I had a miscarriage a year ago. I'm 14 weeks pregnant again, and I'm worried. What can I do?

Whatever your history of perinatal bereavement, it's normal for a new pregnancy to stir up emotions and memories.

To help you deal with your medical concerns, you can talk to your healthcare professional or call the Info-Santé service (dial 811). Alternatively, if you'd like to discuss your situation, a Grossesse-Secours counsellor is available to listen to you confidentially and anonymously.

As a family member, how can I help my loved ones through perinatal bereavement?

Being a positive presence for your loved ones during a perinatal bereavement can make a huge difference to their experience. You may not know how to act or what to say or do to help them; why not start by letting your loved ones tell you what they need? Offer them space, time and support at their own pace. It's essential not to minimize or dramatize the person's experience, as some comments, often well-intentioned, can be clumsy and could hurt your loved ones. The most important thing is to listen without judgement.

If you’re affected by this bereavement as well, you also have the right to contact one of our counsellors.