Young women's experience of termination and miscarriage: A qualitative study

Brady, Geraldine; Brown, Geraldine; Letherby, Gayle; Bayley, Julie and Wallace, Louise M. (2008). Young women's experience of termination and miscarriage: A qualitative study. Human Fertility, 11(3) pp. 186–190.



In Britain, teenage pregnancy is seen as both a cause and a consequence of social exclusion. The emphasis on 'prevention' of teenage pregnancy and a limited conception of 'support' within the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy (Social Exclusion Unit, 1999) positions parenthood for young people as a negative choice; this dominant discourse is likely to influence young people's reproductive decisions and experiences. With this in mind, this article focuses on a key finding from a multidisciplinary empirical research study, conducted in a city in the West Midlands of England, which considered and explored young people's experience of support before and following termination and miscarriage. Data were collected via in-depth interviews with professionals and practitioners (n = 15), young mothers (n = 4) and one young father. Although termination and miscarriage are generally perceived as distinct and different issues, the data suggest that the issues become more blurred where younger women are concerned. The experiences of young, 'inappropriately pregnant teenagers' often remain unacknowledged and devalued. This analysis highlights the social and political context in which young women experience termination and miscarriage, and suggests that termination and miscarriage should be acknowledged as significant medical, social and emotional events in the lives of young people.

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