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Guilt and emptiness: women's experiences of miscarriage
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2577-1632
Örebro University, School of Medicine, Örebro University, Sweden.
Institutionen för klinisk och experimentell medicin, Linköpings universitet.
Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköpings universitet.
2004 (English)In: Health Care for Women International, ISSN 0739-9332, E-ISSN 1096-4665, Vol. 25, no 6, p. 543-560Article 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, p. 543-560
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Nursing Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-25616DOI: 10.1080/07399330490444821PubMedID: 15354621OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-25616DiVA, id: diva2:548488
Available from: 2012-08-30 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
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
Linköping: LiU-Tryck, Linköping, Sweden, 2006. p. 68
Keywords
Miscarriage, Grief, Perinatal Grief Scale in Swedish, Follow-up visit to midwife, Medical Birth Register
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine Nursing
Research subject
Medicine; Nursing Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-36196 (URN)91-85497-76-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-04-07, Berzeliussalen Hälsouniversitet i Linköping, Linköping, 16:30 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-09-09 Created: 2014-08-28 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Adolfsson, AnnsofieLarsson, Per-Göran

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