Alyssa Tai Supporting you through a difficult time: Interrupting a pregnancy for medical reasons

  • Tauira / Student
    Alyssa Tai
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Janine Graham-Jones
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Cassie Khoo, Ivana Nakarada-Kordic

Women and their whānau will often visit their midwife during the second trimester of their pregnancy for a routine ultrasound examination. While for many this is just a routine check-up, for some it comes with a heart-breaking diagnosis of foetal abnormality. This can be quite a shock for most women and their whānau, and is a highly emotional time for all.

The diagnosis of a foetal abnormality presents parents with a difficult decision to make. But when faced with a diagnosis of severe foetal abnormality, most women choose to end the pregnancy. The medical termination of a wanted pregnancy for foetal abnormality is considered a major life event for most women. The psychological consequences of making this decision come with a range of emotions including grief, sadness, doubt, anger and regret.

There was a meaningful opportunity to design more sensitive, supportive and informative resource specifically for women making this difficult decision. Women were previously given information around the termination of pregnancy – however, this information was focused heavily on a social termination of an unintended pregnancy. It did not acknowledge or consider the emotional needs of women and their whānau who have chosen to end their wanted pregnancy due to medical reasons or provide them with the appropriate support around this.

‘Supporting you through a difficult time: Interrupting a pregnancy for medical reasons’ is an A4 informational booklet designed to better prepare and support women and their whānau through the labour and delivery of their pregnancy. Unlike standard clinical brochures which are often overwhelming and text-heavy, this design incorporates soft pastel tones and watercolour illustrations throughout the booklet to help present the information in a softer manner. The illustrations also help to section and space out the content, which has been carefully written in a compassionate, non-judgemental and empathetic tone to prepare women and their whānau around what to expect from the process.

The butterfly is often used as a symbol for pregnancy loss, because it represents renewed life and a new, beautiful and freer existence. A butterfly has been incorporated into the cover design of this booklet as a gentle and soft symbol which stands as a sign of hope that both the whānau and their child will move on to a better place.

The careful consideration put into the design of this new resource hopes to better support and prepare women and their whānau around the difficult decision they have made to end their wanted pregnancy due to foetal abnormality. It acknowledges that their challenges and difficulties differ from an abortion for an unintended pregnancy and provides the information and resources that are relevant for their unique situation.