"Not just a normal mum": A qualitative investigation of a support service for women who are pregnant subsequent to perinatal loss
journal contributionposted on 17.04.2018, 00:00 by Pamela Meredith, T Wilson, G Branjerdporn, J Strong, L Desha
© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Following previous perinatal loss, women in a subsequent pregnancy may experience heightened emotions, such as anxiety and fear, with a range of longer-term implications. To support these women, the Mater Mothers' Bereavement Support Service in Brisbane, Australia, developed a Pregnancy After Loss Clinic (PALC) as a specialised hospital-based service. The present study investigated the experiences of mothers with previous perinatal loss in relation to: (a) their subsequent pregnancy-to-birth journey, and (b) the PALC service. Such research seeks to inform the ongoing development of effective perinatal services. Method: A qualitative interview-based research design was employed with a purposive sample of 10 mothers who had previously experienced perinatal loss and who attended the Mater Mothers' PALC during their subsequent pregnancy in 2015. All mothers had subsequently delivered a live baby and were in a relationship with the father of the new baby. Women were aged between 22 and 39 years, primiparous or multiparous, and from a range of cultural backgrounds. Semi-structured interviews, conducted either at the hospital or by telephone by an experienced, independent researcher, lasted between 20 min and one hour. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, with participant names changed. Interviews were analysed using content analysis by two researchers who were not involved in the service delivery or data gathering process. Results: Seven themes were identified from the interview material: The overall experience, The unique experience of first pregnancy after loss, Support from PALC, Experiences of other services, Recommendations for PALC services, Need for alternative services, and Advice: Mother to mother. Conclusions: Participants spoke positively of the PALC services for themselves and their families. Anxieties over their subsequent pregnancy, and the desire for other health professionals to be more understanding were frequently raised. Recommendations were made to extend the PALC service and to develop similar services to support access for other families experiencing perinatal loss.