Pregnancy loss in lesbian and bisexual women: An online survey of experiences

Elizabeth Peel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Although pregnancy loss is a distressing health event for many women, research typically equates women’s experiences of pregnancy loss to ‘married heterosexual women’s experiences of pregnancy loss’. The objective of this study was to explore lesbian and bisexual women’s experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Methods: This study analysed predominantly qualitative online survey data from 60 non-heterosexual, mostly lesbian, women from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. All but one of the pregnancies was planned. Most respondents had physically experienced one early miscarriage during their first pregnancy, although a third had experienced multiple losses. Results: The analysis highlights three themes: processes and practices for conception; amplification of loss; and health care and heterosexism. Of the respondents, 84% conceived using donor sperm; most used various resources to plan conception and engaged in preconception health care. The experience of loss was amplified due to contextual factors and the investment respondents reported making in impending motherhood. Most felt that their loss(es) had made a ‘significant’/‘very significant’ impact on their lives. Many respondents experienced health care during their loss. Although the majority rated the overall standard of care as ‘good’/‘very good’/‘outstanding’, a minority reported experiencing heterosexism from health professionals. Conclusions: The implications for policy and practice are outlined. The main limitation was that the inflexibility of the methodology did not allow the specificities of women’s experiences to be probed further. It is suggested that both coupled and single non-heterosexual women should be made more visible in reproductive health and pregnancy loss research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-727
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Reproduction
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Fingerprint

Pregnancy
Spontaneous Abortion
Delivery of Health Care
Preconception Care
Stillbirth
Heterosexuality
Reproductive Health
Health
Family Planning Services
Standard of Care
Surveys and Questionnaires
Sexual Minorities
Research
Canada
Spermatozoa
Tissue Donors

Bibliographical note

© The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords

  • miscarriage
  • pregnancy loss
  • lesbian and bisexual women
  • heterosexism
  • online survey

Cite this

@article{4a9624706ef64a368f7c936cd4b72c3b,
title = "Pregnancy loss in lesbian and bisexual women: An online survey of experiences",
abstract = "Background: Although pregnancy loss is a distressing health event for many women, research typically equates women’s experiences of pregnancy loss to ‘married heterosexual women’s experiences of pregnancy loss’. The objective of this study was to explore lesbian and bisexual women’s experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Methods: This study analysed predominantly qualitative online survey data from 60 non-heterosexual, mostly lesbian, women from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. All but one of the pregnancies was planned. Most respondents had physically experienced one early miscarriage during their first pregnancy, although a third had experienced multiple losses. Results: The analysis highlights three themes: processes and practices for conception; amplification of loss; and health care and heterosexism. Of the respondents, 84{\%} conceived using donor sperm; most used various resources to plan conception and engaged in preconception health care. The experience of loss was amplified due to contextual factors and the investment respondents reported making in impending motherhood. Most felt that their loss(es) had made a ‘significant’/‘very significant’ impact on their lives. Many respondents experienced health care during their loss. Although the majority rated the overall standard of care as ‘good’/‘very good’/‘outstanding’, a minority reported experiencing heterosexism from health professionals. Conclusions: The implications for policy and practice are outlined. The main limitation was that the inflexibility of the methodology did not allow the specificities of women’s experiences to be probed further. It is suggested that both coupled and single non-heterosexual women should be made more visible in reproductive health and pregnancy loss research.",
keywords = "miscarriage, pregnancy loss, lesbian and bisexual women, heterosexism, online survey",
author = "Elizabeth Peel",
note = "{\circledC} The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.",
year = "2010",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1093/humrep/dep441",
language = "English",
volume = "25",
pages = "721--727",
journal = "Human Reproduction",
issn = "0268-1161",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "3",

}

Pregnancy loss in lesbian and bisexual women: An online survey of experiences. / Peel, Elizabeth.

In: Human Reproduction, Vol. 25, No. 3, 03.2010, p. 721-727.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Pregnancy loss in lesbian and bisexual women: An online survey of experiences

AU - Peel, Elizabeth

N1 - © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

PY - 2010/3

Y1 - 2010/3

N2 - Background: Although pregnancy loss is a distressing health event for many women, research typically equates women’s experiences of pregnancy loss to ‘married heterosexual women’s experiences of pregnancy loss’. The objective of this study was to explore lesbian and bisexual women’s experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Methods: This study analysed predominantly qualitative online survey data from 60 non-heterosexual, mostly lesbian, women from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. All but one of the pregnancies was planned. Most respondents had physically experienced one early miscarriage during their first pregnancy, although a third had experienced multiple losses. Results: The analysis highlights three themes: processes and practices for conception; amplification of loss; and health care and heterosexism. Of the respondents, 84% conceived using donor sperm; most used various resources to plan conception and engaged in preconception health care. The experience of loss was amplified due to contextual factors and the investment respondents reported making in impending motherhood. Most felt that their loss(es) had made a ‘significant’/‘very significant’ impact on their lives. Many respondents experienced health care during their loss. Although the majority rated the overall standard of care as ‘good’/‘very good’/‘outstanding’, a minority reported experiencing heterosexism from health professionals. Conclusions: The implications for policy and practice are outlined. The main limitation was that the inflexibility of the methodology did not allow the specificities of women’s experiences to be probed further. It is suggested that both coupled and single non-heterosexual women should be made more visible in reproductive health and pregnancy loss research.

AB - Background: Although pregnancy loss is a distressing health event for many women, research typically equates women’s experiences of pregnancy loss to ‘married heterosexual women’s experiences of pregnancy loss’. The objective of this study was to explore lesbian and bisexual women’s experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Methods: This study analysed predominantly qualitative online survey data from 60 non-heterosexual, mostly lesbian, women from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. All but one of the pregnancies was planned. Most respondents had physically experienced one early miscarriage during their first pregnancy, although a third had experienced multiple losses. Results: The analysis highlights three themes: processes and practices for conception; amplification of loss; and health care and heterosexism. Of the respondents, 84% conceived using donor sperm; most used various resources to plan conception and engaged in preconception health care. The experience of loss was amplified due to contextual factors and the investment respondents reported making in impending motherhood. Most felt that their loss(es) had made a ‘significant’/‘very significant’ impact on their lives. Many respondents experienced health care during their loss. Although the majority rated the overall standard of care as ‘good’/‘very good’/‘outstanding’, a minority reported experiencing heterosexism from health professionals. Conclusions: The implications for policy and practice are outlined. The main limitation was that the inflexibility of the methodology did not allow the specificities of women’s experiences to be probed further. It is suggested that both coupled and single non-heterosexual women should be made more visible in reproductive health and pregnancy loss research.

KW - miscarriage

KW - pregnancy loss

KW - lesbian and bisexual women

KW - heterosexism

KW - online survey

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=76749116140&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/humrep/dep441

DO - 10.1093/humrep/dep441

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 721

EP - 727

JO - Human Reproduction

JF - Human Reproduction

SN - 0268-1161

IS - 3

ER -