National guidelines advise that clinicians caring for women post-pregnancy should give women opportunities to discuss contraception, regardless of pregnancy outcome, and provide contraception to women who choose to take up a method. This study aimed to explore knowledge, views and needs of Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) clinicians around discussing and offering contraception and discussing pregnancy intendedness with women after early pregnancy loss using a qualitative approach.
Semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews with 11 clinicians from a single regional EPU in Edinburgh, Scotland. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.
Clinicians were reluctant to discuss contraception as they believed women would find the topic overwhelming and distressing. Thoughts on discussing pregnancy intendedness were polarised; some considered it insensitive, and others essential. Barriers to discussing contraception and providing it were numerous and included time pressure, and inadequate knowledge and training on contraception. Participants suggested training on contraception, closer working with sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, and availability of information on contraception specifically aimed at women who have experienced an early pregnancy loss could facilitate discussions and method provision.
EPU clinicians require ongoing training and support to be effective at discussing pregnancy intendedness and discussing and providing post-pregnancy contraception. This will require close working with SRH services and development of sensitive information around contraception for women experiencing an early pregnancy loss.