Pregnancy loss (PL) occurs frequently and has negative psychological effects on women and their partners. Medical treatment after a PL is focused on emptying the uterus with no attention to psychological needs. There is limited knowledge on how to prevent and reduce the negative mental health consequences of PL, especially how to cope with the stress and anxiety during a subsequent pregnancy. Given a 25% PL rate, it stands to reason a number of pregnant women and partners may be vulnerable given their reproductive history. Interventions to support couples during a pregnancy after PL are non-existent.
The proposed project aims to better understand couples’ experience and needs during a pregnancy after PL using repeated qualitative interviews. This form of data collection is ideal given pregnancy is a process where desires and needs can change over time. Couples with prior PL will be interviewed four times during their pregnancy (i.e., after positive pregnancy test and once in each trimester). The findings will inform the development of: a) recommendations to medical professionals on how to enhance the quality of health care during pregnancy after PL based on couples’ accounts of their experiences and needs across a pregnancy; b) an intervention in cooperation with the target group to increase couples’ knowledge of what to expect and how to cope during pregnancy after PL.
I will significantly benefit from a placement at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Public Health, which houses the Copenhagen Pregnancy Loss Research Programme; an international, interdisciplinary research group that aims to reduce the negative impact of PL on physical and mental health and improve clinical practice related to PL. The proposed project will contribute key psychological and clinical insights not currently represented in the host group, whilst diversifying my competency into the public health and intervention development fields in which I will focus my future career.
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