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Compassion Fatigue

Perinatal loss is an incredibly traumatic and difficult experience for families, as well as for those who are supporting them. Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress, is a real risk for healthcare providers who care for patients experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. It results from witnessing the suffering that bereaved parents and their families experience during the loss of a child. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and seek help if needed.


Symptoms of compassion fatigue can manifest in emotional, physical, cognitive, or behavioral ways. Seek help if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

·    Emotional: anger, irritability, hopelessness

·    Physical: headaches, abdominal pain, insomnia, fatigue

·    Cognitive: difficulty concentrating, self-blame/guilt, lack of confidence

·    Behavioral: substance abuse, frequent lates/absences, apathy


Practicing self-care is an essential part of managing compassion fatigue. Reaching out for help, taking time off, and engaging in activities that bring you joy are all strategies that can help alleviate the effects of compassion fatigue. Staying active, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest are equally important. Additionally, seeking support from peers and colleagues can help to lessen the effects of compassion fatigue. It is helpful to talk to people who understand what you are going through. Seeking out therapy or support groups can also be beneficial.

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