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Midwifery. 2014 Jun;30(6):650-6. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2013.12.011. Epub 2013 Dec 27.

A search for hope and understanding: an analysis of threatened miscarriage internet forums.

Author information

1
Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia. Electronic address: Debra.betts@nzsao.com.
2
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia. Electronic address: h.dahlen@uws.edu.au.
3
Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia. Electronic address: caroline.smith@uws.edu.au.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

threatened miscarriage is a common complication of early pregnancy, which increases the risk of miscarriage or pregnancy complications such as premature birth. Currently there is limited evidence to recommend beneficial medical treatments or lifestyle changes, resulting in a 'watchful waiting' approach. The aim of this study was to describe women's experiences of threatened miscarriage through examining postings to Internet discussion forums.

DESIGN:

a Goggle alert for threatened miscarriage was created with emails containing hyperlinks sent to the first author and collected over a seven month period (April to November 2011). Data was analysed using thematic analysis.

FINDINGS:

one hundred and twenty one discussion threads were collected. The overarching theme that emerged was one of 'a search for hope and understanding'. Within this there were four sub themes that illustrated this search. 'A reason for hope: stories and real life experiences' illustrated how women sought hope for a viable pregnancy through others. 'Becoming the expert,' captures how women gave advice from their own experiences. 'A safe place to share' and 'connecting to empathic support' illustrates how women used this medium for long distance support.

KEY CONCLUSION:

internet discussion forums were used by women to seek hope and support they were not receiving from their health professionals. Women urged each other to remain hopeful despite a negative medical prognosis. There was an acceptance of a lay expertise within the forums that was valid enough to challenge medical expertise.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

health practitioners may need education that helps them balance their delivery of medical information with hope in order to increase feelings of trust. With women seeing the Internet as a useful form of support, it may be relevant for practitioners to consider recommending relevant Internet sites and discuss this with women.

KEYWORDS:

Internet forums; Pregnancy loss; Thematic analysis; Threatened miscarriage

PMID:
24439850
DOI:
10.1016/j.midw.2013.12.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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