Exploring the psychological impact of miscarriage: Qualitative analysis of email messages contributed by women contacted through pregnancy forums on the internet
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AbstractTo explore women's experience of miscarriage with particular interest in: the presence of trauma responses post miscarriage; sources of social support and the impact of e-communication. A qualitative approach was used to analyse 26 messages written to the author in response to a request posted on 9 parenting - pregnancy e-forums. A data analysis software package (MAXQDA10) was used to conduct both a deductive and inductive analysis of themes developed from the participant's narratives of their miscarriage experiences. Deductive analysis of the data indicated that a significant number of the symptoms in the behavioural, physical and emotional domains (Bowes et al 2000) were referenced in the data. Specific references to the cognitive domain, as proposed, were however absent on this occasion. Results from the inductive analysis indicated that anxiety featured strongly in the 'aftermath' phase and in the 'early weeks' phase for those with prior experience of miscarriage. Women felt vulnerable and powerless on 'finding out' about the loss and coping with procedures associated with involuntary pregnancy loss (IPL). Confusion caused by chaotic emotional responses arose as a theme at the point of 'finding out', but continued and deepened through the 'miscarriage experience' and the 'aftermath'. The need for information and sensitive support was a recurrent theme from the point of 'finding out' onwards. During the 'aftermath' and 'reflection' phases, 'trying to make sense of or integrate the experience-was a common theme. Some had achieved this while others had not and some were not at a point in their journey (at the time of writing) where they were able to reflect upon their traumatic loss. The trauma responses experienced by this group of women are evident throughout the data and the impact of the research on the author confirms that a good level of self-care is needed in conducting research on this topic. Some recommendations for future research are suggested including the need to explore trauma responses further with miscarried women as well as their preferences in terms of support at stages of the 'miscarriage journey'.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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