Last week, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend shared the heartbreaking news that they had experienced pregnancy loss, shedding light on an issue that is not often discussed, even though up to 25 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and Maria Brann and Jennifer Bute of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI can address best ways to communicate about pregnancy loss and how to support people after experiencing it as well as provide evidence-based practices for effective doctor-patient communication.

“Miscarriage is a taboo topic that is often silenced,” Brann said. “Sometimes people don’t know what to say, so they avoid conversations with people who have experienced reproductive loss. This can make people feel even lonelier in the midst of a traumatic and often unexpected experience.”

Brann and Bute have assessed training techniques and communication behaviors of health care providers when delivering news of miscarriage and can offer evidence-based recommendations for more effective communication. They will discuss their research during a webinar on Oct. 15, national Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  

“Miscarriage is an ambiguous form of loss, and people might have trouble coping with a mixture of confusing feelings,” Bute said. “Knowing they have a supportive network they can count on and talk to is really important in helping them manage their emotions.”

Maria Brann is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at IUPUI. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety.

Jennifer Bute is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at IUPUI and a former senior editor for Health Communication. Her research centers on communication about health in interpersonal relationships; most of her work has explored issues of reproductive health, such as how people manage private information about topics like infertility and miscarriage. Her research also examines public discourses about reproductive and sexual health.

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Newswise: Experts available to comment on communicating support for pregnancy loss

Credit: Indiana University

Caption: Jennifer Bute

Newswise: Experts available to comment on communicating support for pregnancy loss

Credit: Indiana University

Caption: Maria Brann