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More Support Needed For Miscarriage Sufferers

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Dr Cassie Kenney
Dr Cassie Kenney

By Amelia Romanos of NZPA

Wellington, May 13 NZPA - New Zealand women who suffer miscarriages are not getting the support they need, a midwife and healthcare researcher says.

Cassie Kenney, who today graduated from Massey University with a PhD in midwifery, said her doctoral research had uncovered five incidents in which women committed suicide after suffering miscarriages.

"Maternal mental health statistics indicate there may be a correlation between miscarriage and women's experiences of mental ill health directly following miscarriage and in subsequent pregnancies," Dr Kenney said.

"The challenge for the health system will be addressing miscarriage-related issues in a timely manner rather than the current practice of funding the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff."

With miscarriage occurring in one in four pregnancies, Dr Kenney said more funding was needed to improve support for sufferers -- "specifically in relation to developing health workforce capacity so that women have better access to information, counselling, support and follow-up visits."

Miscarriage Support Auckland president Vonney Allan said there was no national organisation for miscarriage support and that local groups like hers often survived on community grants and donations.

"We send pamphlets to anyone who asks, which includes hospitals throughout New Zealand. Our website got a million hits last month, we're at the top of Google -- there is no one else," she said.

She said the Government needed to step up and provide funding so a national group could be set up.

"It's not like having a child with a bad heart, it's not like having cancer of the breast. It's something most people think they can just forget about and move on, but unfortunately it doesn't always work that simply," she said.

"To a normal, everyday woman, it's their baby. To them, it's their child. At six-weeks they've planned their school because they've seen their baby -- in the scan they'll see a heart beating, and then it dies."

Ms Allan said she had spoken to people who had carried grief for decades because they felt no one understood.

"They're carrying that grief, and grief is awful to carry," she said.

"Often they're devastated. Sometimes they're not, but sometimes it catches up with them and they don't cope."

 

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