Pregnancy after stillbirth

vast array of bluebells in a woods, with a pathway through them

Pregnancy after stillbirth

What was this project about?

Pregnancy after stillbirth

Despite advances in maternity care, two million babies die at or before their birth each year across the globe. The majority of couples will proceed to a pregnancy after loss, often within a very short timeframe of their index loss. However, little is known about how couples, as a unit, negotiate the experience of pregnancy after loss. The aim of this project was to understand how couples, as a dyad, make sense of a pregnancy after stillbirth.

What was involved?

  • The experiences of eight heterosexual couples, who were pregnant again in the immediate pregnancy after stillbirth, was explored using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Data were collected by joint, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with a convenience sample.

Who was involved?

Project team

Name Affiliation Role
Dr Margaret Murphy School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC; Pregnancy Loss Research Group Doctor of Nursing Student; Lecturer in Midwifery
Professor Patricia Leahy Warren School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC Primary Supervisor
Professor Eileen Savage School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC Supervisor

Dissemination activities

Journal articles

  • Roseingrave R, Murphy M, O'Donoghue K. Pregnancy after stillbirth: maternal and neonatal outcomes and health service utilization. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology MFM. 2022;4(1):100486.
  • Murphy M, Savage E, O'Donoghue K, Leary JO, Leahy-Warren P. Trying to conceive: An interpretive phenomenological analysis of couples' experiences of pregnancy after stillbirth. Women and Birth. 2021;34(5): e475-e481.
  • Homer CSE, Leisher SH, Aggarwal N, Akuze J, Babona D, Blencowe H, Bolgna J, Chawana R, Christou A, Davies-Tuck M, Dandona R, Gordijn S, Gordon A, Jan R, Korteweg F, Maswime S, Murphy MM, Quigley P, Storey C, Vallely LM, Waiswa P, Whitehead C, Zeitlin J, Flenady V. Counting stillbirths and COVID 19-there has never been a more urgent time. The Lancet Global Health. 2021;9(1):e10-e11.
  • Horey D, Boyle FM, Cassidy J, Cassidy PR, Erwich JJHM, Gold KJ, Gross MM, Heazell AEP, Leisher SH, Murphy M, Ravaldi C, Siassakos D, Storey C, Vannacci A, Wojcieszek A, Flenady V. Parents' experiences of care offered after stillbirth: An international online survey of high and middle-income countries. Birth. 2021;48(3):366-374.
  • Shakespeare C, Merriel A, Bakhbakhi D, Blencowe H, Boyle FM, Flenady V, Gold K, Horey D, Lynch M, Mills TA, Murphy MM, Storey C, Toolan M, Siassakos D, The RESPECT Study for consensus on global bereavement care after stillbirth. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. 2020; 149:137-147.
  • Pollock D, Murphy MM, O'Leary J, Warland J. Pregnancy after loss during the COVID19 pandemic. Women and Birth. 2020;33(6):540-543.
  • Flenady V, Ellwood D, Bradford B, Coory M, Middleton P, Gardener G, Radestad I, Homer C, Davies-Tuck M, Forster D, Gordon A, Groom K, Crowther C, Walker S, Foord C, Warland J, Murphy M, Said J, Boyle F, O’Donoghue K, Cronin R, Sexton J, Weller M, McCowan L. Beyond the headlines: Fetal movement awareness is an important stillbirth prevention strategy. Women and Birth. 2019;32(1):1-2.
  • Wojcieszek AM, Boyle FM, Belizán JM, Cassidy J, Cassidy P, Erwich J, Farrales L, Gross MM, Heazell A, Leisher SH, Mills T, Murphy M, Pettersson K, Ravaldi C, Ruidiaz J, Siassakos D, Silver RM, Storey C, Vannacci A, Middleton P, Ellwood D, Flenady V. Care in subsequent pregnancies following stillbirth: an international survey of parents. BJOG. 2018;125(2):193-201.
  • Wojcieszek AM, Shepherd E, Middleton P, Lassi ZS, Wilson T, Murphy MM, Heazell AE, Ellwood DA, Silver RM, Flenady V. Care prior to and during subsequent pregnancies following stillbirth for improving outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018;12(12):CD012203.
  • Gold KJ, Storey C, Siassakos D, Leisher S, Boyle F, Farrales L, Heazell A, Horey D, Cassidy J, Murphy M, Murphy S, Cacciatore J, Flenady V. Response to Redshaw et al. Impact of holding the baby following stillbirth on maternal mental health and well-being: findings from a national survey. BMJ Open. 2016;6(8):e010996.


Book chapters

Published reports


  • Murphy M. Experiences of couples in pregnancy after stillbirth: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. [Doctoral dissertation]. Cork: University College Cork; 2018.

Project status

Completed: 2012 to 2018

Further information

Please email Dr Margaret 

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,