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Experience of miscarriage: an interpretative phenomenological analysis
  1. S Meaney1,2,
  2. P Corcoran1,
  3. N Spillane2,
  4. K O'Donoghue2,3
  1. 1National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, University College Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Ireland
  3. 3The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT), University College Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr S Meaney; s.meaney{at}


Objective The objective of the study was to explore the experiences of those who have experienced miscarriage, focusing on men's and women's accounts of miscarriage.

Design This was a qualitative study using a phenomenological framework. Following in-depth semistructured interviews, analysis was undertaken in order to identify superordinate themes relating to their experience of miscarriage.

Setting A large tertiary-level maternity hospital in Ireland.

Participants A purposive sample of 16 participants, comprising 10 women and 6 men, was recruited.

Results 6 superordinate themes in relation to the participant's experience of miscarriage were identified: (1) acknowledgement of miscarriage as a valid loss; (2) misperceptions of miscarriage; (3) the hospital environment, management of miscarriage; (4) support and coping; (5) reproductive history; and (6) implications for future pregnancies.

Conclusions One of the key findings illustrates a need for increased awareness in relation to miscarriage. The study also indicates that the experience of miscarriage has a considerable impact on men and women. This study highlights that a thorough investigation of the underlying causes of miscarriage and continuity of care in subsequent pregnancies are priorities for those who experience miscarriage. Consideration should be given to the manner in which women who have not experienced recurrent miscarriage but have other potential risk factors for miscarriage could be followed up in clinical practice.

  • pregnancy loss

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  • Contributors SM and KOD contributed to and were responsible for the conception and design of the study. SM and NS were responsible for data collection. SM was responsible for transcription, data analysis and the initial drafting of the article. SM, PC, NS and KOD contributed to revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content; final approval of the version to be published and the decision to submit the article for publication.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for the study was provided by the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals (CREC; Reference: ECM 4 (iii) 10/01/12).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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