How can health professionals support women in pregnancy after baby loss?

by | 19 Apr 2023 | Research Spotlight | 0 comments

Pregnancy following baby loss can bring up intense feelings of anxiety, fear, isolation, and guilt. How can health professionals working with women support them during this time? Research conducted by a multidisciplinary team including a health psychologist from the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology can shine some light on this question.

The study explored the experiences of women in pregnancy after baby loss while attending The Rainbow Clinic @ St. Marys Hospital, Manchester, a specialist antenatal service.  

Interviews with women showed that previous experience of baby loss made them more aware of the risk of stillbirth or neonatal death. This awareness underpinned the feelings of anxiety and fear that women experienced during subsequent pregnancies. However, women felt like attending the Rainbow Clinic provided them with the reassurance and support they needed. It helped them feel less anxious, less isolated, and more hopeful.


Across the interviews, there were several aspects of care that women found helpful. 

Continuity of carer 

First, women valued being able to receive continuous support from the same team of healthcare professionals. Always seeing the same people reduced the stress associated with having to repeat their stories at every appointment. 

Acknowledgment of loss  

Acknowledgment of baby loss by healthcare professionals helped women feel less alone in their experience. 

Time to express concerns  

Having their concerns heard by staff was important for women. It reassured them that the staff can provide them with individualised care and support. 

Being around other women who are in the same situation 

Being seen at a clinic with other women who shared their experiences and awareness of risk helped women feel less isolated. 

Increased frequency and flexibility of appointments 

Finally, frequent and flexible appointments provided women with a greater sense of control over their care. This helped women manage their anxiety about potential risks to their pregnancy.  

To read the full paper click here

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