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Professional support desired by men and women following a perinatal loss

  • Author(s): Mueller, Holly Ann-Marie
  • Advisor(s): Kimonis, Virginia
  • et al.
Abstract

ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS

Professional Support Desired by Men and Women Following a Perinatal Loss

By

Holly Mueller

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling

University of California, Irvine, 2017

Professor Virginia Kimonis, MD, MRCP, Chair

This study was designed to determine what professional support is desired by men and women following perinatal loss. Perinatal loss is common and can have devastating emotional effects. Social and professional support can lead to improved healthcare outcomes, but is not always readily offered or accepted. The purpose of this study was to assess coping styles of individuals after perinatal loss, the type of professional support thought to be most beneficial, and how this support should be offered.

Individuals who have experienced perinatal loss (151 women and 15 men) responded to an online survey. Results showed that women were significantly more likely than men to receive multiple and varied types of support. Of those individuals that did not receive professional support, a majority cited that they either preferred to deal with the loss privately or that they received all needed support socially, however a significant portion (n = 13, 17%) were not aware that such support exists. In-person support groups and individual therapy were reported to be the most helpful forms of professional support following a perinatal loss and a majority of individuals prefer to be informed of services by a medical professional within thirty days following perinatal loss.

How individuals cope following perinatal loss is variable and there is no one form of support that will fulfill all needs. It is crucial to offer access to multiple options to help couples through this potentially devastating experience. Medical professionals, including genetic counselors, should supply information for professional support when appropriate.

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