Australian heterosexual women’s experiences of healthcare provision following a pregnancy loss

Clemence Due, Kate Obst, Damien Riggs, Catherine Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite increased awareness of the psychological impact of pregnancy loss, a lack of recognition continues with regards to women's experiences. Healthcare professionals have an important role to play in supporting women following a pregnancy loss, yet to date only a relatively small body of research has examined women's experiences with healthcare providers. Aim: This paper seeks to contribute to the literature on women's engagement with healthcare professionals by exploring the experiences of an Australian sample. Method: Fifteen heterosexual women living in South Australia were interviewed about their experiences of pregnancy loss. A thematic analysis was undertaken, focused on responses to one interview question that explored experiences with healthcare professionals. Findings: Three themes were identified. The first theme involved negative experiences with healthcare providers, and included four subthemes: (1) ‘confusing and inappropriate language and communication’ (2) ‘the hospital environment’ (3) ‘lack of emotional care’ and (4) ‘lack of follow-up care’. Under the second theme of positive experiences, the sub-themes of (1) ‘emotionally-engaged and present individual staff’ and (2) ‘the healthcare system as a whole’ were identified. Finally, a third theme was identified, which focused holistically on the importance of healthcare professionals. Conclusion: The paper concludes by discussing the importance of training for healthcare professionals in supporting women who experience a pregnancy loss, and the need for further research to explore the experiences of other groups of people affected by pregnancy loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Healthcare professionals
  • Healthcare provision
  • Mental health
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Support


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