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Australian Male Partner’s Experience of Miscarriage: A Qualitative Study

Australian Male Partner’s Experience of Miscarriage: A Qualitative Study

Introduction & objectives: Miscarriage occurs in up to
one in four pregnancies and can be a devastating event
affecting both men and women. Unfortunately, the
male partner’s experience of miscarriage is seldom
researched, particularly within Australia. The aim of
this study was to explore male partners experiences of
miscarriage.
Method(s) & sample: This qualitative study involved
semi-structured telephone interviews with 10
Australian men, whose partners miscarried between
three months and ten years ago. Interviews explored
men’s general miscarriage experience and the support
received or lacking from both healthcare providers and
social networks. Online health seeking behaviour and
opinions on online support were also discussed. Data
was transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.
Results: Most men described feeling significant grief
following miscarriage and felt that there was little
acknowledgement of their loss, both from healthcare
providers and within their social networks. Feelings of
sadness, devastation, powerlessness, fear, shock and a
loss of identity were common. All men felt their primary
role at the time of miscarriage was to support
their partner. Most men did not want to burden their
partner with their emotions or grief, and struggled to
find people within their social networks to talk to
about their loss, leading to feelings of isolation. Overall
participants felt there was inadequate support offered
to men affected by miscarriage. Men wanted information,
informed professionals to talk to and male-orientated
support networks. A website was one mechanism
suggested by men which could adequately contribute to
information and support needs during this time.
Conclusion & recommendations: Men are often
greatly affected by miscarriage and yet there is all too
often little acknowledgement or support available to
them at this time. Men affected by miscarriage want
and need further support, including reputable,
Australian based information and resources tailored
their needs.
Keywords: miscarriage, men, experiences
Source of Funding: Dr Jade Bilardi is in receipt of a
National Health and Medical Research Council Early
Career Fellowship No 1013135
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement: None