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Unit 5: Consider your own needs and support requirements

Unit 5: Consider your own needs and support requirements


Learning outcomes

After completing this unit you will:

  • Recognise that it can be upsetting for health professionals to discuss issues surrounding miscarriage with women
  • Know the importance of giving yourself time
  • Know where you can find your support

Challenges for health professionals

All health professionals working with women experiencing pregnancy loss may find the experience challenging and upsetting. Try to be aware of your own needs and make sure that there is support for you and your colleagues.

Click to see the challenges that these health professionals mention.

How health professionals are affected

Click on the areas below to see how different health professionals may be affected. Whatever your role, you will find it helpful to look at all these areas.

Identify the difficulties

Being aware of the potential difficulties can help you to be more prepared for some of the emotional challenges facing you as a health professional. These might include your own experiences too, especially if you have been through pregnancy loss yourself or are currently pregnant.

Use the links below to find out more about how you can prepare yourself to manage some of these challenges in a variety of situations.

A woman’s response to her care

As a health professional caring for women experiencing a miscarriage, you may feel as if you are walking on egg shells for fear of saying the wrong thing. Remember that this is a positive feeling. It shows that you care and that you really want to get it right for the women you are caring for.

Thank you to the lady who took her time to explain everything on the screen to me and acknowledged my loss.


Watch Tina’s description of the care she received and how important it was to her to be given time and space to absorb what was happening to her.

A woman’s response to her care video

Click to watch the video above

Identify your sources of support

Your peers may have similar concerns and might also benefit from talking about these issues with you. Good sources of support could be:

  • in your hospital, Trust or Health Board or surgery
    • individually, informally with close colleagues or your wider clinical team
    • in staff meetings, training sessions and/or clinical supervision
  • peers from other hospitals, clinics etc
    • individually, informally
    • at conferences and wider training events
    • through existing or developing networks like the Association of Early Pregnancy Units or the monthly ‘Professional Pause’ sessions hosted by the Miscarriage Association and the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust*
    • mentoring or coaching, via the Clinical Commissioning Group or local training services

* These sessions offer a safe online discussion and learning space to share experiences and reflect on challenging situations in order to support your practice, while also considering your needs. Contact helen@miscarriageassociation.org.uk for details.

You might also consider:

  • your partner, if you have one, or a trusted friend
  • your own GP
  • talking to us at the Miscarriage Association in strict confidence
  • if you prefer not to talk, you can explore other avenues of self-help such as mindfulness and other relaxation techniques, which can reduce stress and help develop emotional resiliance
  • Using your reflections as a result of this e-learning for your revalidation

Working in this setting can be draining. It’s important to recognise the signs if or when it’s too much and to think about how to then find ways to help yourself. Professional organisations often offer support, such as the BMA – https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/your-wellbeing/wellbeing-support-services/sources-of-support-for-your-wellbeing.

After my experiences I did a peer teaching session with my colleagues with an emphasis on communication. We concluded that there is no ideal one size fits all explanation or way of expressing condolences in these situations – even a blanket expression of how sorry you are or referring to the baby can be wrong!…

Further information

Complete You’ve completed all 5 units

Visit the resources and references page for quick access to all the films, good practice guides and links referenced during the e-learning module.

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