Mothers' perspectives on infant death: an investigation beyond the statistics

This qualitative study was conducted in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, focusing on infant death from the mothers' perspective. Sixteen mothers whose infants had died were interviewed. Mothers' narratives were analyzed by classifying such categories as perceptions of health-illness-death, the physician-patient relationship, and quality of care. Discontinuity between prenatal and childbirth care, wandering from one hospital to another to receive care, and lack of communication with health care professionals were situations reported by the women. Feelings such as fear, solitude, abandonment, insecurity, and disempowerment were also evidenced. The inequity of rights was a dominant theme which permeated many narratives, revealing a process of exclusion for mothers and their children as users of the public health system.

Infant Mortality; Maternal and Child Health; Health-Disease Process

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