International Perinatal Bereavement Conference, St Louis, Missouri Sept-Oct 2018


One of the highlights of this year for me was attending the IPBC in St Louis, Missouri.
I started the trip with a few days in San Francisco catching up with Suzanne Pullen, a colleague and friend. Suzanne has graduated with her PhD in communication and I’m hoping to bring her to NZ in 2020.
I also got to spend some time with Deborah Davis in Denver for five days before the conference. Deborah was my inaugural VCA Speaker Series presenter in 2017. We were able to do some work together and have some fun! We then presented Deborah’s workshop together as a pre-conference workshop which was a great revisiting of her very good material around caring for parents and caring for self.
The conference itself was a great mix of topics and speakers. I really enjoyed reconnecting with colleagues whom I’ve met at previous IPBC conferences in Washington DC (2010), San Antonio (2014)  and Phoenix (2016). I always come away from this conference having been introduced to some new ideas and challenging topics, and 2018 was no different.
I’m hoping to write up on of those topics and use them in my work – maternal mortality, perinatal death in surrogacy, communication in the NICU,  and self-care.
I also came away with some collaborations for 2019 – an article and a book! So watch this space for more news on those resources!


2019 marked the 21st International Perinatal Bereavement Conference. This one-of-a-kind event, was specially designed to bring together professionals and parent advocates in a relaxed and communal setting. It was the only international conference devoted solely to the understanding of perinatal bereavement, meaning the death of a baby during pregnancy, at birth, or in the first weeks or months of life. In addition during 2018 we are addressing the alarming rise in maternal death, maternal mental health and much more.

What made the conference unique? Most notable was that they were committed to the model of evidence-based care that includes research, personal experience, and bereaved family narratives.

Additionally, this remarkable conference provided a wide variety of opportunities to engage, learn, and be inspired. Preconference, plenary, concurrent, and poster sessions offered a wide array of learning opportunities. Outstanding plenary speakers included Terri Major Kincade (opening keynote), Brian Carter, Denise CotéArsenault, June Hanke, Diane Sanford, and Kathie Kobler (closing keynote). As well, the planning committee arranged networking and casual get-togethers during the time together.

PLIDA (Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance)

PLIDA serve as leaders in perinatal and neonatal bereavement care. They do this through education, advocacy and networking for health care providers and parent advocates. They promote the highest quality of consistent evidence based care for all families. Providing perinatal bereavement care is imperative. It is not an option.

The PLIDA express their mission through professional continuing education, the establishment of position statements and practice guidelines, unified response to issues in the media or legislation, and by creating a network for professionals to share questions, resources, insight and support.




International Perinatal Bereavement Conference, St Louis, Missouri Sept-Oct 2018

The 21st International Perinatal Bereavement Conference is a one-of-a-kind event, specially designed to bring together professionals and parent advocates.
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