New support services for Cork families who experience miscarriage

New support services for Cork families who experience miscarriage
Dr Keelin O'Donoghue, Clinical Director, Women and Children's services, Cork University Hospital.Picture: Denis Scannell

The Pregnancy Loss Research Group and Infant Research Centre at University College Cork will launch, a first-of-its-kind website in Ireland, today.

One in four pregnancies end in first-trimester miscarriage.

For many, miscarriage is unexpected and can be an upsetting experience.

The silence and stigma associated with pregnancy loss can be compounded by the lack of reliable, accessible online information.

The website provides medically accurate, sensitive, and user-friendly information for those who experience first-trimester miscarriage.

It is designed to guide users through what to expect when a miscarriage happens, what to do, and how to access the appropriate services, while also complementing the care and support that miscarriage sufferers receive in maternity hospitals.

The website will also be a helpful resource for clinical staff who care for bereaved parents through the difficult journey of miscarriage.

The website has been developed by clinical bereavement midwife specialist Anna Maria Verling, parent advocate Rachel Rice, and public engagement manager Caoimhe Byrne, in collaboration with MSc student Dr Sabina Tabirca and Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, consultant obstetrician at Cork University Maternity Hospital and principal investigator at Infant.

“We identified a particular gap in the information and support available to women and their partners who experience first trimester miscarriage,” said Ms Verling.

“Couples need to have access to reliable, medically accurate information when healthcare professionals may not be available to answer their questions and alleviate their worries. Developing an online resource meets this need.”

Ms Rice added: “It wasn’t until I experienced pregnancy loss that I realised how unprepared I was for the physical and emotional reality of miscarriage.

“It is not always possible at the time of diagnosis to take in all the information that is provided by healthcare professionals.

“It would have made such a difference to have had access to understandable and reliable information that I could have referred to at any time, day or night.”

The website will provide information on pregnancy, pregnancy concerns, miscarriage symptoms, miscarriage types, management and services, feelings and emotions, and pregnancy after miscarriage.

While specific to the services operating in Cork University Maternity Hospital, the information is relevant to parents and maternity services nationally and internationally.

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