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Financial Assistance Program for Women Dealing with Miscarriages

Women who experience miscarriage will receive bereavement support and boosted follow-up care through $9.5 million (US$6.3 million) in new federal government funding.

The support package will also address gaps in data to understand more about miscarriage, Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney announced on May 17.

It is estimated up to 110,000 Australian women experience a miscarriage every year, taking a lasting toll on their physical and mental health.

This is especially so for the one to two percent who have three or more miscarriages in a row.

Ms. Kearney said women who experienced miscarriage commonly reported a lack of information, poor access to follow-up care, and limited referral to counseling or other services.

They could also experience stigma and a feeling of shame compounded by a medical system that did not meet their needs.

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Ms. Kearney said Labor’s funding package would help start a public conversation about miscarriage and better support women and their families to process loss and grief.

“Having a miscarriage can be one of the darkest and most traumatizing moments of a woman’s life,” the minister said in a statement.

“It compounds the tragedy if she does not receive empathetic care, or is isolated and lonely as she processes this loss.

“As a former nurse, I’m proud to be shaping the health system to offer more compassionate care to women.”

The funding includes $5.5 million (US$3.7 million) for grants for bereavement support services, and $1.5 million (US$1 million) for education and awareness activities for the public and among health professionals to provide support to women and families.

A $1 million (US$700,000) package will go to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to improve data on miscarriage, enabling a scoping study for national miscarriage data collection.

A $1.5 million investment will also go to facilitate a national audit of Early Pregnancy Assessment Service clinics.

Early Pregnancy Loss Coalition chair Isabelle Oderberg said for too long miscarriage had been shrouded in shame and stigma that led to isolation and compromised medical and mental health care.

“This budget funding is the start of rectifying this unacceptable status quo,” she said.

Samantha Payne, chief executive of the Pink Elephants Support Network for those who experience miscarriage, welcomed the package to “help shift the narrative” around the issue.

She said the funds would allow more women to access early intervention support, “going a long way to reducing the shame, stigma, grief, and poor mental health outcomes that many women experience after a miscarriage.”

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