Breaking Silence On Miscarriage

Department of Health

In an Australian first, the Albanese Labor Government has announced a funding package to help meet the needs of women who have experienced miscarriage.

The dedicated funding package of $9.5 million will include bereavement support for women and families who suffer through the physical and emotional turmoil of miscarriage and it will address the gaps in data so we understand more about miscarriage.

Every year it is estimated that up to 110,000 Australian women will experience a miscarriage. This can be traumatic and take a lasting toll on their physical and mental health, especially for the 1-2 per cent of women who tragically have three or more miscarriages in a row.

Women who experience a miscarriage commonly report a lack of information, poor access to follow-up care and limited referral to counselling or other services. They also experience stigma and a feeling of shame that is compounded by a medical system that doesn’t meet their needs.

Labor’s new dedicated funding for miscarriage will help start a public conversation about miscarriage and better support women and their families to process this loss and grief.

The package will include $5.5 million for grants for bereavement support services, and $1.5m for education and awareness activities for the public and among health professionals to provide the support women and families need.

With a lack of adequate data impacting how we might improve policy and services, $1 million in funding will be delivered to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to improve data on miscarriage. The funding will enable a scoping study for a national miscarriage data collection.

A $1.5 million investment will facilitate a national audit of Early Pregnancy Assessment Service (EPAS) clinics. EPAS clinics are often in hospitals and are how many women access medical care in their first trimester or if they are having a miscarriage. This audit will make it easier for women to access an appropriate service in their local area for treatment and follow-up care.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP:

“Having a miscarriage can be one of the darkest and most traumatising moments of a woman’s life. It compounds the tragedy if she does not receive empathetic care, or is isolated and lonely as she processes this loss.”

“So many women have spoken up about their harrowing experiences of miscarriage. It’s time we listen. It’s time we act. It’s time we shine a spotlight on miscarriage.”

“There are many challenges facing women who experience miscarriage. From a higher incidence of postpartum anxiety if they go on to have a baby, to the lack of answers if there are multiple miscarriages. We need to build a bigger picture of this often hidden medical tragedy.”

“From bereavement support, to awareness, to education and data, this $9.5 million investment will go a long way to supporting women who have experienced miscarriage, now and into the future.

“This Australian-first investment in miscarriage support by the Albanese Government is the reason we have Labor Governments.

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

Quotes attributable to Isabelle Oderberg, Chair of the Early Pregnancy Loss Coalition and author of Hard to Bear: Investigating the science and silence of miscarriage:

“Every five minutes in Australia, a family is affected by the early loss of a pregnancy. For too long this issue has been shrouded in shame and stigma, leading to isolation and compromised care, both medical and in mental health.

“This budget funding is the start of rectifying this unacceptable status quo. From immediate funds for crucial front-line services, to investments that will inform how we deal with this space in future, this is the start of a new beginning.

“The sector is incredibly grateful for the leadership shown by Minister Ged Kearney and her colleagues and the Early Pregnancy Loss Coalition looks forward to partnership and collaboration going forward”.

Quotes to attribute to Samantha Payne, CEO Pink Elephants Support Network:

“Pink Elephants strongly welcomes this miscarriage support package.

“I would personally like to thank the Assistant Federal Health Minister Ged Kearney, for listening, working with us, and advocating to her colleagues to secure this commitment, to help shift the narrative around miscarriage, and improve women’s health outcomes.

“In particular, Pink Elephants welcomes the much-needed government funding for bereavement support services, which will help meet a very real and urgent need that has never been addressed directly by Government before.

“These targeted funds for frontline services, will 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”.

/Media Release. View in full here.