OBJECTIVE: To investigate how women experience the initial period of a new pregnancy after suffering recurrent miscarriage (RM).
DESIGN: A qualitative study, nested within a randomised controlled feasibility study of a coping intervention for RM, used semi-structured face-to-face interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic network approach.
SETTING: Participants were recruited from the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic and Early Pregnancy Unit in two tertiary referral hospitals in the UK.
PARTICIPANTS: 14 women with RMs and who had previously participated in the randomised controlled trial (RCT) feasibility component of the study were recruited.
RESULTS: Seven organising themes emerged from the data: (1) turmoil of emotions, (2) preparing for the worst, (3) setting of personal milestones, (4) hypervigilance, (5) social isolation, (6) adoption of pragmatic approaches, (7) need for professional affirmation.
CONCLUSIONS: The study established that for women with a history of RM, the waiting period of a new pregnancy is a traumatic time of great uncertainty and emotional turmoil and one in which they express a need for emotional support. Consideration should be given to the manner in which supportive care is best delivered within the constraints of current health service provision.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN43571276.