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Miscarriage research priorities identified

Monday November 13th, 2017

More studies should be undertaken to improve the psychological and emotional support of parents affected by miscarriage, according to a new survey.

The survey, presented at the Association of Early Pregnancy Unit’s (AEPU) annual conference over the weekend, says these should be priorities because they are not as well researched as other aspects.

The researchers, led by the University of Nottingham, England, said other areas that also deserve additional research include preventative treatment, relevance of existing medical conditions, importance of lifestyle factors and genetic and chromosomal causes, investigation after different numbers of miscarriage and male causal factors.

A total of 1,093 participants, including 932 women who have experienced miscarriage, eight partners, 17 family members, friends or colleagues, 104 healthcare professionals and eight charitable organisations, took part in the survey.

They were asked 2,402 questions and the 25 top were discussed in a workshop so that a top 10 for research could be prioritised.

These were: the effective interventions to prevent miscarriage; the emotional and mental health impacts of miscarriage; which investigations have true clinical value?; the extent to which existing medical conditions cause miscarriage; types of effective emotional support; if lifestyle factors cause miscarriage; the extent to which genetic and chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus cause miscarriage; if preconception tests or interventions prevent miscarriage; appropriate investigations for women after miscarriage; and the male factors that contribute to the cause of miscarriage.

Lead study author Dr Matthew Prior, of the University of Nottingham’s Department of Child Health Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nottingham, said: "We hope our results will encourage both researchers and funders to focus on these priorities to drive improvements in the prevention of miscarriage and in the care of those affected."

Co-author Professor Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Miscarriage can have a devastating impact on women, their partners and families. However, it remains a largely under-researched and taboo subject despite how common it is.

“This silence contributes to the idea that it is ‘not a problem’ and prevents investment in the research and development needed to understand the causes of and consequent prevention of miscarriage, as well as improved emotional and physiological support for those affected."

Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s said: “Defining the top 10 priorities for miscarriage research is a positive step forward for parents; it raises the profile of miscarriage which is the biggest cause of pregnancy loss in the UK and places an unacceptable burden of distress on parents’ lives.”

Tags: Mental Health | NHS | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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