Supporting African American Mothers following a Stillbirth: Relationship Quality Matters

by Samantha Francois, PhD

Abstract: Stillbirths in the United States have declined considerably over the past decades with closer monitoring in pregnancy. However, African American mothers continue to experience stillbirth rates twice that of White mothers and other racial/ethnic groups. Research has linked stillbirths in African American mothers to socioeconomic factors, lack of prenatal care, risky behaviors, and stressful life events. The current study examined the effect of partner relationship quality on the association between stillbirth and depressive symptoms in African American mothers and found that mothers who experienced stillbirth and reported good relationships with a current partner had lower depressive symptoms. Implications of findings for pregnancy and childbirth providers are discussed.

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