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

Alyssa Tai

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Standard clinical brochures are often text-heavy and can be overwhelming and intimidating for patients to read. There was an opportunity to reimagine how patient information could be communicated in a more illustrated and sensitive manner that was more fitting for the context.

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. ‘Supporting you through a difficult time: Interrupting a pregnancy for medical reasons’ is an A5 informational booklet for patients, that walks them gently through the process and services offered by the hospital, to help support these women during this time. Student, Alyssa Tai, for further funding to distribute the education game more widely across Auckland. She used soft pastel tones and watercolour illustrations throughout the booklet to help present the information in a softer manner.

This better complimented the content, which was rewritten in a more compassionate, non-judgemental, and empathetic tone to prepare women and their whānau around what to expect from the process. The careful consideration put into the design of this new resource hopes to better support and prepare women and their whānau. 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. The booklet was well recognised at a women’s health conference and was a Finalist in the Best Awards.