Improving miscarriage support for women, partners and family

Helen Williams, Laura Jones, Arri Coomarasamy

We want to understand the different ways that women and their partners cope with miscarriage, so that we can better train doctors, nurses and midwives to provide the emotional support that is so important following loss.

Start: 2017

End: 2021

Why do we need this research?

Miscarriage isn’t just a physical experience: it is an emotional event both for mum, her partner and those around them. However, a lot of the care given after a miscarriage only focuses on physical recovery, without providing parents with the emotional support they need.

In particular, providing emotional support for male partners is often overlooked. We need to better understand the experiences of men after their partner’s miscarriage, so we can find the best way to help those who have suffered loss.

What’s happening in this project?

Our researchers started this project by carrying out a large review of other studies on men’s experiences of miscarriage. Their analysis of these studies, which reported on the experiences of 231 men, had many important findings about the roles that men assumed for themselves, and the assumptions made by others such as healthcare professionals.

The team discovered that many men felt that they were expected to be unaffected emotionally by pregnancy loss, and so did not ask for (or were not offered) the support they needed. The men also reported that it was assumed their role was to support their partner, so they found it difficult to express their own feelings. They often felt as they were being treated as observers, or event outsiders, to their partner’s care.

One group missing from previous research was men with experience of multiple miscarriages, who may have additional needs for support. To address this, our researchers have now begun a study to get the views from this group.

What difference will this project make?

The needs of male partners of women experiencing miscarriage has previously been overlooked. The learnings from this project will help doctors, nurses and midwives to give men the emotional support they need following pregnancy loss.

Thanks for your interest in our research

Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. We can keep you updated on ways you can support our work. If you would like to join our fight against baby loss and premature birth, click here.

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