Supporting Mental Resilience after Stillbirth


A study at the BIU Department of Psychology in collaboration with Hadassah Ein-Karem medical centre, focuses on stillbirth, and aims to support the mental resilience of women after trauma.

The death of the foetus in the womb and the difficult birth experience often cause Post-Trauma. The first quantitative study conducted in Israel on this subject, by Bar-Ilan in collaboration with Hadassah Ein-Karem, discovers factors which increase the risk of developing mental trauma and how this can be addressed.

Prof. Danny Horesh, a clinical psychologist and Head of the Clinical Psychology Programme at Bar-Ilan’s psychology department, held the study together with Ms. Malka Noukarian. According to Prof. Horesh, “PTSD among women after a pregnancy loss, can be expressed, among other things, in flashbacks, difficult memories, various avoidances, and emotional numbness. Sometimes there are even physical reminders and pain.”

The study revealed that religion and faith contribute to mental resilience, that young mothers are more vulnerable, and that the later the stillbirth occurs during pregnancy, the greater the mental vulnerability. “We also found a connection between the quality of the couple’s relationship and resilience – family and marital support is critical after trauma.”

The research findings, according to Prof. Horesh, are a basis for changing policy and regulation and a tool for raising awareness. “We presented the findings to the committees in the Knesset, and I hope we help raise the decision makers awareness to this issue”.