The impact of pregnancy loss on men's health and wellbeing: a systematic review
Riggs, Damien Wayne
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Background Research indicates that men's psychological and physical health outcomes after pregnancy loss differ from those of women. Our goal was to identify all literature with a focus on men's experiences of pregnancy loss in order to outline current evidence concerning men's wellbeing. Methods A systematic review of literature on men and pregnancy loss was undertaken following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) and Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) guidelines. Literature was sourced from PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, and Google Scholar. Inclusion criteria were 1) studies that focused on pregnancy loss (including miscarriage, stillbirth, and ectopic pregnancy, 2) that men's voices were specifically represented, and 3) that studies were of primary data. Results A final sample of 29 articles was identified, of which 16 were quantitative, 10 qualitative, and 3 mixed methods. Quantitative and mixed methods studies indicated that while men tended to have less intense and less enduring levels of negative psychological outcomes than women, they are more likely to engage in compensatory behaviours, such as increased alcohol consumption. Qualitative studies indicated that men often feel that their role is primarily as a 'supporter' to their female partner, and that this precludes recognition of their own loss. These studies also reported that men may feel overlooked and marginalised in comparison to their female partners, whose pain is typically more visible. Conclusions Further research is needed on men's experiences of pregnancy loss, focusing on cultural differences. The experience of gay and/or transgender men who face pregnancy loss is overlooked in the literature to date.