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Guilt and emptiness: Women’s experiences of miscarriage
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Gender and medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Obstetrics and gynecology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Gender and medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre of Paediatrics and Gynecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Nursing Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1588-135X
2004 (English)In: Health Care for Women International, ISSN 0739-9332, Vol. 25, no 6, 543-560 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Women who lose an early pregnancy are shocked when they are first given the information that they have miscarried. Later they feel guilt and emptiness. Heideggerian interpretive phenomenology has been used with 13 women from southwest Sweden to uncover their lived experience of miscarriage. Women plan their future with a child during early pregnancy. When miscarriage occurs it is not a gore, an embryo, or a fetus they lose, it is their child. They feel that they are the cause of the miscarriage through something they have done, eaten, or thought. They feel abandonment and they grieve for their profound loss; they are actually in bereavement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 25, no 6, 543-560 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13807DOI: 10.1080/07399330490444821OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13807DiVA: diva2:21693
Available from: 2006-04-03 Created: 2006-04-03 Last updated: 2013-09-12
In thesis
1. Miscarriage: Women’s Experience and its Cumulative Incidence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Miscarriage: Women’s Experience and its Cumulative Incidence
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many women experience miscarriage every year. Every fourth woman who has given birth reports that she has previous experience of miscarriage. In a study of all women in the Swedish Medical Birth Register 1983-2003, we found that the number of cases of self reported miscarriage had increased in Sweden during this 21 year period. This increase can be explained by the introduction of sensitive pregnancy tests around 1990, as well as an increase in the mean age of the mothers, by approximately 3 years, during the observation period. The risk of miscarriage is 13% with the first child. With subsequent pregnancies, the risk of miscarriage is 8%, 6% and 4% with the second, third and fourth child, respectively.

Thirteen of these women who had suffered a recent miscarriage were interviewed four months later, and their feelings of guilt and emptiness were explored. Their experience was that they wanted their questions to be answered, and that they wanted others to treat them as the mothers to be that they felt themselves to be. They also experienced the need for time to grieve their loss.

Measurement of grief by means of the Perinatal Grief Scale (PGS) is used in research but has also been proposed for clinical use. We have translated this psychological instrument to Swedish, back-translated and tested it in a small pilot study. In a randomized controlled study, women with early miscarriage were allocated, either to a structured visit (study group) or a regular visit (control group) to a midwife. The structured visit was conducted according to the Swanson caring theory. We could conclude that the structured visit had no significant effect on grief compared to the regular visit, as measured using the PGS. However, women with the sub-diagnosis missed abortion have significantly more grief four months after early miscarriage, regardless of visit type.

We also performed a content analysis of the tape-recorded structured follow-up visit. The code-key used was Bonanno and Kaltman’s general grief categorization. Women’s expression of grief after miscarriage was found to be very similar to the grief experienced following the death of a relative. Furthermore, the grief was found to be independent of number of children, women’s age, or earlier experience of miscarriage.

Conclusions: Every fourth woman who gives birth reports that she has also experienced early miscarriage. The experience of these women is that they have suffered a substantial loss and their reaction is grief similar to that experienced following the death of a relative.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för molekylär och klinisk medicin, 2006
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 939
Keyword
Miscarriage, Grief, Perinatal Grief Scale in Swedish, Follow-up visit to midwife, Medical Birth Register, Spontaneous abortion
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-6204 (URN)91-85497-76-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-04-07, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
On the day of the public defence of the doctoral thesis the status of article III was In Press and article IV was In Press.Available from: 2006-04-03 Created: 2006-04-03 Last updated: 2009-08-22

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Adolfsson, Ann-SofieLarsson, Per-GöranWijma, BarbroBerterö, Carina

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