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Coping after recurrent miscarriage: uncertainty and bracing for the worst

Ockhuijsen, H. D. L., Boivin, Jacky, van den Hoogen, A. and Macklon, N. S. 2013. Coping after recurrent miscarriage: uncertainty and bracing for the worst. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 39 (4) , pp. 250-256. 10.1136/jfprhc-2012-100346

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Abstract

Background The aim of this study was to understand how women with single or recurrent miscarriages cope during the waiting periods after miscarriage – waiting for pregnancy or waiting for pregnancy confirmation – and to investigate their perception of a ‘positive reappraisal’ coping intervention designed for these waiting periods. Positive reappraisal is a cognitive strategy to change the meaning of a situation, specifically reinterpreting the situation in a more positive way. Methods A qualitative methodology was used. Data were obtained from two focus groups comprising nine women with one or more miscarriages. Results Two core categories, ‘uncertainty’ and ‘bracing’, were highlighted during the waiting period for confirmation of an ongoing pregnancy. Women who had experienced a single miscarriage appraised this waiting period as benign and used distraction and coping by social support. Women with recurrent miscarriages could not confidently appraise the waiting period as one that would bring hope or joy and used bracing for the worst as their coping strategy to manage this ambivalence. With this strategy, women tried to control their current emotions, and looked into the future to try to minimise their distress if a further miscarriage occurred. Although all women thought that a ‘positive reappraisal’ coping intervention would be practical and applicable during waiting periods, only women with recurrent miscarriages actually wanted to use such an intervention. Conclusions Coping interventions targeting reappraisal of the waiting period stressor situation could help women to cope as they wait for a subsequent pregnancy to be confirmed as ongoing. Coping interventions may need to be tailored, but before any strategy is introduced, further study is needed to identify the most appropriate approach.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 1471-1893
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:51
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/45771

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