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Women’s experiences of the consenting process for pregnancy remains disposal following early miscarriage

Kilshaw, Susan; (2024) Women’s experiences of the consenting process for pregnancy remains disposal following early miscarriage. BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 10.1136/bmjsrh-2023-201982. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND METHODOLOGY: UK clinical practices around managing pregnancy remains after pregnancy loss involve a process of documenting consent. Women are typically offered options for disposal, which may include cremation, burial, releasing for private arrangements, releasing to a funeral director and, in some cases, sensitive incineration. A single researcher conducted 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork in one National Health Service (NHS) Trust including observing the consenting process for pregnancy remains disposal (n=28) and interviewing 27 women, including 19 who had experience of the consent process for pregnancy remains disposal, about their understanding, attitudes and experiences of pregnancy remains disposal. Transcripts were analysed for representative themes. RESULTS: Prior to the discussion and consenting process most participants had not given consideration to disposal methods. Participants expressed surprise about the discussion and disposal pathways with most suggesting it was inappropriate, particularly given the early stage of their pregnancy (<12 weeks’ gestation). In some cases, the consenting process caused distress due to the way the participant framed their pregnancy remains being divergent from implied meaning in discussions about disposal. CONCLUSIONS: Current practices appear discordant with the views of some women experiencing miscarriage. A person-centred approach to pregnancy remains disposal is recommended to accommodate a diverse range of approaches so as not to challenge a woman’s experience of and agency about her body, pregnancy and pregnancy remains.

Type: Article
Title: Women’s experiences of the consenting process for pregnancy remains disposal following early miscarriage
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjsrh-2023-201982
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsrh-2023-201982
Language: English
Additional information: © Author(s) (or their employer[s]) 2024. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10185267
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