UK College of Social Work Study Examines Navigating Grief and Pregnancy Loss Through Online Story Telling

New analysis from the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky highlights the need for more training in social work practice regarding the intersection of reproductive and mental health surrounding pregnancy loss. The paper is published in the journal of Qualitative Social Work.

Using blog posts authored by six women who experienced miscarriages, researchers found women who experience miscarriage often lack resources to understand what is happening to their bodies, and more support and information are needed to successfully navigate the grieving process. When combined with other external factors, grief from a miscarriage loss can develop into complicated grief, a condition that has negative mental health implications for the bereaved mother.

“Because of the general lack of discussion and research on miscarriage, many women feel isolated and alone as they struggle to face this loss. Bloggers use their platforms to process, educate and connect, and most of the bloggers in our analysis shared their stories as part of their grieving process,” said lead researcher Aubrey Jones, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. “These stories demonstrate how women experiencing miscarriage grief transition from accepting the reality of the loss, work through pain and grief, and adjust to an environment without the baby.”

“The findings of this study present an opportunity for healthcare providers to understand the complexity of pregnancy loss, including the emotional toll on the patient, and assess the need to provide treatment through therapy or other means acceptable to each individual,” Dr. Jones said.

Other authors on the study include Chinh Duong, DSW, LCSW and Kristel Scoresby, LCSW, of the College of Social Work, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.