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National roundtable on miscarriage aims to raise awareness and improve support

17 October, 2023

Miscarriage is a devastating and traumatic experience that affects an estimated 110,000 women and families each year in Australia. These figures and the grief that lies behind them are an ongoing focus for the Australian Government, and a priority area for the new Australian Pregnancy and Postnatal Care Guidelines.

‘Losing a baby causes enormous grief and heartache,’ Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP says. ‘All women and families should have access to meaningful support through this difficult time with care that is appropriate for them and their circumstances.’

Earlier this month, Minister Kearney and Senator Marielle Smith convened a national roundtable to identify national priorities and strategies to improve care and support for people affected by miscarriage and early pregnancy loss and potentially inform the miscarriage content in the updated LEAPP Pregnancy Care Guidelines and the new Postnatal Care Guidelines.

‘With work on LEAPP now underway, this roundtable was such a timely and valuable forum for our team,’ says LEAPP Guidelines Program Manager Miranda Cumpston. ‘As part of our program we’ll be looking at the latest evidence on interventions to identify and address risk factors that may be associated with miscarriage, as well as postnatal care, including after a pregnancy loss. We’ll also be identifying areas where evidence is lacking and future research is needed.’

‘We listened to roundtable participants share their stories and lived experiences of multiple miscarriages. This highlighted the importance of considering pathways of care – not just at a single point in time, but also throughout pregnancies after a miscarriage.’

‘The LEAPP team will be focusing on developing guidelines that can improve organisation and consistency of care, for example on communication about risk factors, Culturally Safe care, routine screening for risk factors, models of maternity care, and access to mental health services and grief support.’

‘It was so great to share in the good will and collaborative work of so many different organisations that are all focused on improving the care that’s provided, and more than that – the way care is provided as well. We had a chance to discuss the gaps across various specialities and think about the way our work can address them.’

‘As we embark on our major program delivering living recommendations for pregnancy and postnatal care, the opportunity to listen to the national conversation and participate in forums like this one is paramount.’