“I thought I was going to jinx myself every time I told someone”: Exploring how women communicate in a pregnancy subsequent to loss.
Tremain, C. (2021). ‘I thought I was going to jinx myself every time I told someone’: Exploring how women communicate in a pregnancy subsequent to loss. (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14273
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14273
Miscarriage is one of the most commonly occurring types of pregnancy loss; it is estimated that one out of every three women will experience a miscarriage and one out of 200 will experience a still birth. Loss of a pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of experiencing elevated levels of anxiety, depression, and distress which can persist for prolonged periods of time and into a subsequent pregnancy. Furthermore, social support has been found to mitigate distress associated with pregnancy loss and increase women’s ability to cope through the traumatic loss of pregnancy. However, little research has been done into how currently pregnant women with a history of pregnancy loss communicate about a subsequent pregnancy to others and if this plays a role in eliciting social support. The aim of this study was to explore the differences between women with and without a history of pregnancy loss in terms of their distress and worry, and to begin to explore the experience of communicating a pregnancy and whether this related to their perception of social support. The current study used an online survey to explore this topic in a convenience sample of 187 pregnant women, 42.7% of whom had experienced a prior pregnancy loss. This study found that women with a history of pregnancy loss were more distressed and worried about the health of the foetus than their counterparts with no history of loss. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of when they first communicated about their pregnancy to someone outside of their relationship and both groups perceived themselves as being highly socially supported. The findings add to the literature on women’s mental health after loss and highlight implications for professionals. Consistent compassion, reassurance and validation may be needed by others to help women reduce their distress and worry in pregnancies subsequent to loss.
The University of Waikato
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