Assisting the delivery of a dead child is emotionally one of the most demanding tasks in obstetrics. Women who lose a
child in the prenatal or perinatal phase are often experiencing this type of severe and usually unexpected shock for the
first time in their lives, and only in the rarest of cases are they prepared for it.
As far as differential diagnosis is concerned, the normal reaction and pathological grief are defined, criteria are
specified, and the clinical significance of so-called complicated grief is discussed. Taking leave of a person can be
understood as a psycho-prophylactic process which should be encouraged, supported and followed for medical
reasons and which, unlike technical medical measures, cannot simply be provided. Failure by the person concerned to
take leave of the dead child to an adequate manner and to grieve over their loss can result in emotional disorders.
Consultancy for both parents in gynaecological practice is indicated as a preventive measure, especially if there are
conflicts in coping together with the loss of the child.
Planned psychic after-care in the event of prenatal and perinatal loss shortens the period of grief and reduces the rate
of psychic complications.