Conflicting perceptions between health care professionals and patients on the psychological morbidity following miscarriage

Authors


Dr Grace Wing Shan Kong, 1E, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China. Email: gracekong@cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

Background:  Miscarriage is common and may result in significant psychological morbidity for women. Recent research has revealed that health care professionals often tend to neglect this factor. This negligence may lead to delayed diagnosis and appropriate care.

Aims:  To assess health care professionals’ and patients’ attitudes towards the psychological impact of miscarriage.

Methods:  A prospective, cross-sectional survey of nearly 3000 subjects was conducted. Of these, 1269 were health care professionals and 1519 were pregnant women or their spouses. Their perceptions of the psychological impact of miscarriage, in comparison with postnatal depression were studied.

Results:  Health care professionals were less aware of the psychological impact of miscarriage compared with postnatal depression (91.9 vs 98.4%, P = 0.02). Furthermore, they believed that the psychological impact of miscarriage was less than that of postnatal depression (79.9 vs 88.9%, < 0.001). However, more patients believed that psychological impact after miscarriage can seriously affect women (59.0 vs for health care professionals 38.3%, < 0.001). A higher proportion of patients compared with health care professionals (85.2 vs 74.3%, < 0.001) believed that routine psychological support should be provided after miscarriage, but few agreed that primary health professionals were the most suitable people to provide this care although most health care professionals thought this to be appropriate (9.1 vs 59.7%, < 0.001).

Conclusion:  Health care professionals should be more aware of the psychological morbidity associated with miscarriage and also be sensitive to a currently unmet need for psychological care.

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