If you provide care to female patients and gender-diverse people assigned female at birth, you may be meeting someone who has experienced a miscarriage. Here are some beneficial ways that healthcare professionals can help people and partners affected by miscarriage.
Enquire how they feel about the miscarriage. While many people and partners feel grief and sadness over the loss, some are relieved; others view it pragmatically and want to try again. Treat everyone as an individual. Context around the miscarriage will help you tailor your response and support accordingly.
Recognise their loss where appropriate: ‘I’m sorry for your loss”. Something as simple as this goes a long way.
The doctor’s clinic, they have all been on our journey and know what we have been through, so they were all very, very supportive. I think they gave us a hug.
Miscarriage affects partners too. They often don’t receive the same level of support as women.
It is also important to be mindful that same-sex couples and LGBTIQA+ patients may require information or reassurance around donor gametes and gestational carriers.
- Ensure that the correct pronouns are being used when communicating
- Clarify who the person regards as their immediate or chosen family. Some LGBTIQA+ people have more than one intimate partner, or have chosen to parent with more than one other person, such as their donor and their donor’s partner.
- Clarify the role of the gamete donor in the family. Some donors intend to have a parenting or other close relationship with the intended children and others do not.
Reflect and respond
Be mindful of how people refer to the miscarriage – if the patient refers to the pregnancy as a baby, for example, recognise that they viewed their loss as this, and not as an embryo, foetus, or cluster of cells.
…and the statistics, you know, whatever it is, one in four…pregnancies end in miscarriage. You know, that was told to us multiple times, it didn’t help. It doesn’t help telling me I’m a statistic when I’m hurting
Resist comments such as ‘It’s common” or “Normal part of pregnancy.” These phrases are well-intentioned and often said to reassure people that the miscarriage was not their fault. However, our research overwhelmingly identified that these remarks deliver the opposite effect and can feel dismissive of the loss.
It’s just acknowledging that it’s really painful, and that loss really meant something. Don’t just keep saying it’s common, like that’s just a terrible thing to say, because it makes it, like it minimises, like it’s like saying it doesn’t matter
Healthcare providers commonly rely on patients to request emotional support. But enquiry shows many women want information and support about miscarriage offered to them. Being aware of support services and counselling options means you can offer this information proactively.
When a patient finds out about their miscarriage, they can be overwhelmed by the information you share with them at the time. You can use printable resources and share links to information websites to help them digest the information they need to know at a later time. You can find printable information in our library of fact sheets.