State of Early Pregnancy Loss Report shows 40% of Australians experience barriers to accessing support services post-miscarriage
Survey results from The Pink Elephants Support Network highlight emotional support is just as important as physical support
A new survey of 407 Australians who have experienced early pregnancy loss has highlighted the types of support available to and accessed by people following their pregnancy losses — including unacceptable barriers to access.
Conducted by The Pink Elephants Support Network, Australia’s leading early pregnancy loss support charity, the survey’s findings have today been released in The State of Early Pregnancy Loss Report.
Download State of Early Pregnancy Loss Report
40% of respondents reported experiencing barriers to accessing support following their early pregnancy loss.
Respondents were almost equally as interested in information about the emotional aspects of loss (64%) as they were about the physical aspects of loss (67%).
More than half of respondents (51%) indicated they wanted to talk to another individual who had experienced an early pregnancy loss following their own loss (i.e. peer support).
An overwhelming majority (85%) accessed support from their personal networks immediately following early pregnancy loss, with only half (55%) seeking support from health and medical professionals.
More than double the amount of respondents said they wanted access to a counsellor (48%), than those who actually sought help from these professionals (20%) in the general aftermath of early pregnancy loss.
Of the open-ended responses shared about specific barriers to accessing support, respondents mentioned challenges in navigating health services without guidance — such as having to research information about pregnancy loss management themselves, and a lack of referral pathways to services such as fertility specialists or emotional support services like Pink Elephants.
Others reported feelings of isolation, particularly those that live outside metropolitan areas, and hesitations in accessing support via social media.
“Despite over 100,000 Australians experiencing this profound physical and emotional health issue each year, early pregnancy loss is continually minimised and ignored when it comes to ongoing government funding, research, and formal support pathways. This can result in poor mental health outcomes for so many who are left to navigate their grief, confusion, and disappointment alone,” says Samantha Payne, Co-Founder and CEO of Pink Elephants.
“Organisations like Pink Elephants are not resourced to meet the demands for our services or deliver the types of services people clearly need following their loss.”
Australian Medical Association (SA) President Dr Michelle Atchison, says “Miscarriage is so often a ‘hidden’ loss, with many women and their partners experiencing early pregnancy loss unable to share or discuss their loss in the midst of their grief and confusion. Despite all they know to the contrary, some women feel shame and disappointment in themselves; they may also feel isolated and alone. The Australian Medical Association in South Australia recognises and appreciates the very valuable work of Pink Elephants in helping these women and all who experience early pregnancy loss in Australia.
We congratulate Pink Elephants for the emphatic advocacy that led to the passing of Australia’s ‘Leave for Loss’ legislation in 2021, and hope to continue working with you to improve the care and emotional and physical support for all experiencing early pregnancy loss.”
About Pink Elephants: Pregnancy loss may be an individual journey but no one should have to walk it alone. Pink Elephants provides the latest resources, information and peer-support for anyone impacted by early pregnancy loss. Using evidence, empathy and connection, our unique digital-first approach offers a single source of specialist support, whenever and wherever it’s needed — for anyone who has directly experienced it, for family and friends, corporate partners or healthcare professionals seeking proven ways to help.
With so much of the current experience of miscarriage based on old science, outdated perceptions, social anxiety and mistruths, Pink Elephants aims to right the story of early pregnancy loss by smashing the stigma and leading a new narrative, creating a healthier experience for all. Founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2016, Pink Elephants is a registered not-for-profit. For support, or to learn more, please visit: www.pinkelephantssupport.org.au
Access all Pink Elephants support materials, resources, and peer support programs here: https://www.pinkelephants.org.au/page/65/find-support