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Study reveals miscarriage research priorities

13 November, 2017

Study reveals miscarriage research priorities

A new study shows what the public and health professionals want future miscarriage research to focus on.

According to the results of a study published in BMJ Open, more research is needed to improve psychological and emotional support for women and their partners affected by miscarriage.

Other top priorities include research into preventative treatment, relevance of pre-existing medical conditions, importance of lifestyle factors and genetic and chromosomal causes, investigation after different numbers of miscarriage and male causal factors.

The team of doctors who carried out the survey say that while it is reassuring that many ongoing studies are closely aligned with these priorities, psychological and emotional support are among the less well researched areas.

With the underlying cause for the majority of miscarriages unexplained, there are gaps in the understanding of the psychological impacts.

Therefore, the team of UK-based researchers set out to determine what questions women, their partners and health professionals want answered and prioritised in future research.

The study involved 1093 participants, including 932 women who have experienced miscarriage, eight partners, 17 family members, friends or colleagues, 104 healthcare professionals and eight charitable organisations, including Miscarriage Association, Tommy’s and the RCOG.

Of the initial 2402 questions, the 25 top questions were discussed in a face-to-face workshop to identify the top 10 priorities for future research.
The top research priorities identified are:
What are the effective interventions to prevent miscarriage?
What are the emotional and mental health impacts of miscarriage in the short term and long term for the mother and partner?
What investigations are of true clinical value?
To what extent do pre-existing medical conditions cause miscarriage?
What types of emotional support are effective in preventing or treating women or their partners after a miscarriage?
Do lifestyle factors cause miscarriage?
To what extent do genetic and chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus cause miscarriage?
What preconception tests or interventions prevent miscarriage?
What are the appropriate investigations for women after one, two or three or more miscarriages?
What male factors contribute towards the cause of miscarriage?

RCM education advisor Gail Johnson said: ‘This is important research and shows that there is a real need to understand much more about the psychological impact of miscarriage and the causes so that we can work toward reducing miscarriage rates and improving care.

‘I hope this provides an impetus for more research that will benefit women and health professionals to enable the care women and their partners receive to be improved.’

Access the research here.

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