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University of Utah Health Launches First-of-Its-Kind Pregnancy After Loss Program

Individuals and families that have experienced pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or a severely complicated pregnancy can find comprehensive support and care through the Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program at University of Utah Health. The multi-disciplinary program—the first of its kind in the region, and one of the first in the country—will provide mental health, peer-to-peer family support, and research study opportunities.

In the United States, stillbirth affects one out of every 175 pregnancies. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 20,000 pregnancies every year are lost at 20 weeks or more.

“Stillbirth is one of the saddest and most devastating pregnancy complications, and it’s far too common,” said Bob Silver, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah. “Even though the U.S. has considerable resources, our rate of stillbirth is much higher than that of other similar countries. This clinic is part of an effort to provide better treatment and improve the outcomes in subsequent pregnancies.”

Rana Jawish, Bob Silver
Rana Jawish, MD, lead psychiatrist, Jaymie Maines, patient, and Bob Silver, MD, lead maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the new clinic, pose together following a ribbon cutting ceremony at the University of Utah Hospital.

Recognizing the unique challenges and emotional complexities associated with pregnancy after experiencing loss, the Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program offers a tailored approach to care through an interdisciplinary team, combining medical expertise with compassionate support to guide individuals and families through their journey to parenthood.

“Mental health is at the heart and center of pregnancy loss and stillbirth,” said Rana Jawish, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Utah Health. “Up to 70% of women who have experienced pregnancy loss have had symptoms of anxiety. Intrusive memories, flashbacks, and fear meet the criteria of post-traumatic stress disorder.” Screening and treating these complications, along with providing medical care is essential to improve the overall outcome.

Additionally, the program aims to help advance treatment and understanding of pregnancy loss and stillbirth by providing families the opportunity to participate in research studies.

“We have a lot to learn and a lot of work to do,” Silver said. “That’s where our team will tackle these issues. We need to do better in preventing pregnancy loss and our data will help in the research part.”

Pregnancy After Loss Families
Bob Silver, MD, and families who have received treatment at University of Utah Health attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at University of Utah Hospital.

To better meet the needs of those suffering from pregnancy loss, the program was developed in collaboration with families who have experienced pregnancy loss to ensure future patients receive comprehensive care. The program is also tailored to provide emotional as well as medical support to families.

The Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program is modeled after the Rainbow Clinic developed in the UK by Alex Heazell, PhD, at the University of Manchester.

The launch of the Utah Pregnancy After Loss Program underscores University of Utah Health's commitment to delivering patient-centered care that addresses the diverse needs of our community.