Millions of families in the U.S. have experienced the heartbreak of reproductive loss. Some losses occur quite early in a pregnancy, and others are the result of stillbirth or unbearable decisions surrounding termination. While such losses are incredibly common, our health care system does little to acknowledge the grief that accompanies such loss and often fails to provide much-needed support and coping resources for patients and their families.
Our research explores a vital tool for supporting women grieving reproductive loss: a novel reproductive grief screening tool that health care practitioners can use to monitor women who would benefit from additional assistance and resources to help them manage their grief. Similar to existing tools to screen for postpartum depression, this new screening tool could be used by clinicians in a variety of contexts, including in OB/GYN offices, family practice clinics, and mental health care settings.
The current project we’re conducting centers on sharing the screening tool with women who have experienced reproductive loss to get their feedback on potential use of that tool, including their ideas on how the tool should be administered and discussed, as well as any concerns women have about the screening process.
Reproductive loss takes a well-documented toll on women’s mental health, and the effects of such loss(es) can persist for years. We aim to improve women’s lives through development of a set of best practices for administering and using the screening tool so that women can access the help and support they need.
Results / Data
Drs. Bute and Brann will present preliminary results of this work at the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care’s inaugural symposium: “Transforming Reproductive Grief Care” in March 2023.