OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore bereaved parents' and healthcare providers experiences of care after stillbirth.
STUDY DESIGN: Qualitative in-depth interviews with 55 women, men, female elders, healthcare providers and key informants in Kabul province, Afghanistan between October and November 2017.
RESULTS: Inadequate and insensitive communication and practices by healthcare providers, including avoiding or delaying disclosing the stillbirth were recurring concerns. There was a disconnect between parents' desires and healthcare provider's perceptions. The absence of shared decision-making on seeing and holding the baby and memory-making, manifested as profound regret. Health providers' reported hospitals were not equipped to separate women who had a stillbirth and acknowledged that psychological support would be beneficial. However, the absence of trained personnel and resource constraints prevented provision of such support.
CONCLUSION: Findings can inform future provision of perinatal bereavement care. Given resource constraints, communication training can be considered with longer term goals to develop context-appropriate bereavement care guidelines.