The need for improved emotional support: A pilot online survey of Australian women's access to healthcare services and support at the time of miscarriage

Jade Bilardi, Gemma Sharp, Samantha Payne, Meredith Temple-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Problem: Women need improved emotional support from healthcare professionals following miscarriage. Background: Significant psychological morbidity can result following miscarriage and may be exacerbated by poor support experiences. Women frequently report high levels of dissatisfaction with healthcare support at this time. Aim: This study was developed to pilot a survey aimed at exploring women's access to healthcare services and support at the time of miscarriage. Methods: Women over 18 years, residing in Australia, who had experienced a miscarriage in the past two years completed a 29-item online survey. Findings: A total of 399 women completed the survey. Two key findings arose: 1) More than half of women (59%) were not offered any information about miscarriage or pregnancy loss support organisations or referral/access to counselling services at the time of miscarriage, despite almost all reporting they would have liked various forms of support from items listed 2) More than half (57%) did not receive follow up care, or emotional support at this time, beyond being asked how they were coping emotionally. Other findings showed 3) Women accessed various healthcare services at the time of miscarriage and 4) Women often saw a general practitioner at the time of miscarriage despite having a private obstetrician. Conclusion: There is clear mismatch between the support women want at the time of miscarriage and the care they receive from healthcare professionals. Despite considerable structural barriers, it seems likely there is scope within healthcare professionals’ usual practice for improved support care through simple measures such as increased acknowledgement, information provision and referral to existing support services.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalWomen and Birth
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Emotions
  • Health personnel
  • Miscarriage
  • Psychosocial support systems
  • Qualitative research
  • Spontaneous abortion

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