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Preventing the Tragedy of Neonaticide

Vallone, Doris C. PhD, RN; Hoffman, Lori M. PhD, RN

Focus on Women's Health: Continuing Education

Denying a pregnancy can result in consequences as tragic as neonaticide—the killing of an infant in the first 24 hours of life. Between 150 and 300 neonaticides are committed each year but the actual prevalence of pregnancy denial is unknown. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to pregnancy denial because the unexpected event creates such enormous anxiety and fear for them. Pregnancy denial often eludes parents, teachers, and health care providers. Nurses can advocate for resources and pregnancy screening in primary care settings, and help educate parents and teachers about the problem.

From the School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, Pa. (Vallone)

The Moravian College-St. Luke's School of Nursing, Bethlehem, Pa. (Hoffman)

Corresponding author: Doris C. Vallone, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Widener University, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013 (e-mail:

CE 2.0 Contact Hours See test on pp. 229–230

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.