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Researchers develop tool to identify grief after pregnancy loss

mental-health-graphic.jpg

(GrAl / Shutterstock)

A new tool developed by Indiana University Indianapolis researchers aims to help those who are dealing with grief from losing a pregnancy. The researchers developed this five-question mental health screening tool to help people who have suffered from pregnancy loss.

The lead researchers on this study are IUPUI professors Dr. Maria Brann and Dr. Jennifer Bute. 

Bute shared what their main goal of the research is. 

“I think the primary goal is to make this tool something that healthcare providers can implement in their practice, whether that’s a physician or OBGYN, or a therapist, the tool is designed to be used in lots of different contexts,” Bute said.

Brann also shared how it can be difficult for practitioners to know someone is dealing with grief.

“We have such a short amount of time with healthcare providers and they’re trying to potentially diagnose something else or whatever, and a lot of times this just kind of gets overlooked because that might not be the primary reason why someone is there,” said Brann.

Brann said the tool can help providers decide if a patient is dealing with grief. 

“A lot of providers haven’t been trained on how to have those conversations, and so they maybe don’t know what to say to assess that,” Brann said.

Read more: Graduate student government issues resolution on Kinsey Institute

There is a scale that measures grief that is used in research, but this scale is the best tool to treat patients. The tool that the researchers developed helps practitioners tailor their assessment to learn if a patient is dealing with grief from losing their pregnancy.

“A couple of issues with the scale is that it does not tailor reproductive loss, so some of those questions would not be appropriate to ask someone who had experienced a reproductive loss,” Brann said.

There is also a chance that patients might not feel comfortable talking about their mental health.

“Sometimes people just don’t know how to or don’t feel like they can talk about — whether they’re embarrassed or not sure what to say — so again the tool gives us an opportunity to start that discussion,” Brann said.

Bute hopes the tool can help practitioners treat patients.

“I think early pregnancy loss especially in the first trimester is actually quite common, so it might be something that healthcare providers see so often, that they're not stopping to think about it from a patient perspective as much as maybe they could, Bute said. 

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