Effect of Previous Miscarriage on the Maternal Birth Experience in the First Baby Study

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To determine whether a history of miscarriage is related to birth experience and/or maternal fear of an adverse birth outcome for self or infant during a subsequent delivery.


Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study, the First Baby Study.


Women age 18 to 35 who were expecting to deliver their first live-born infants in Pennsylvania between January 2009 and April 2011.


Four hundred fifty-three pregnant women who reported perinatal loss prior to 20 weeks gestation (miscarriage) in a previous pregnancy and 2401 pregnant women without a history of miscarriage were interviewed during pregnancy and again one month after their first live birth.


Maternal birth experience and fear of an adverse birth outcome measured via telephone interview were compared across groups.


Maternal birth experience scores did not significantly differ between women with and without previous miscarriage. Women with a history of miscarriage reported that they feared an adverse birth outcome for themselves or their infants more frequently than women without a history of miscarriage (52.1% vs. 46.6%; p = .033), however, this relationship was not significant after adjustment for confounders.


Our findings indicate that there is no association between miscarriage history and birth experience. Additional research on this topic would be beneficial including an in-depth examination of fear of adverse outcome during birth. However, nurses and midwives may consider using therapeutic communication techniques to ensure that women with a history of miscarriage receive strong emotional support and reassurance during birth.

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