This is how employers can support employees dealing with pregnancy loss
Trigger warning: Infant and pregnancy loss
October is Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month. The pregnancy journey can be a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, and changes. Finding the right support during these crucial phases is essential for overall well-being, especially considering the research showing that one out of every four women will experience a pregnancy loss. It can often be difficult for those individuals to discuss physical and emotional reactions with their employer, especially if the employer doesn’t offer miscarriage leave.
In recognition of Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month, here are impactful ways employers can help support their employees who have experienced pregnancy loss.
Evaluate existing policies and determine what needs to be changed or added
Having a pregnancy-specific bereavement policy in place can support your employees if they experience a loss or birthing complication. While miscarriage leave hasn’t typically been an employee offering, more employers are re-evaluating and adding this to their employee benefits. This emerging trend has been prompted by employees who expect more support from their employers. Data found that employees' satisfaction with their benefits fell to 61% in 2023, down from 64% in 2022 and representing its lowest point in the past decade — signaling that employees' expectations are growing.
Train human resources and customer service teams in loss care
Provide your team members, such as human resources or customer service professionals, with the educational tools to handle a conversation with an employee experiencing loss. A script may be necessary to guide your employees toward the appropriate next steps or resources. Training your staff in loss support can also reiterate that employees’ well-being is a priority.
If you don’t already have a solution in place, several offerings are available that provide mental and emotional support resources for employees impacted by pregnancy loss. Some helpful resources you can offer to grieving employees are:
- Poppy Seed Health: Our Invisible Loss
- Brigham and Women’s Perinatal/Neonatal Bereavement
- The Motherhood Center
- Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS)
- Return to Zero: Hope
Raising awareness of pregnancy and infant loss increases the likelihood that grieving families will receive understanding and support, but more importantly, results in improved education and prevention efforts. As an integrated healthcare system, Mass General Brigham Health Plan continuously seeks new ways to provide an exceptional experience and ensure members have access to high-quality healthcare. As part of our portfolio of women’s health resources, eligible members of Mass General Brigham Health Plan have access to Poppy Seed Health, a resource that recognizes the importance of mental and emotional support throughout the reproductive journey.
The Poppy Seed Health app provides 24/7 on-demand, text-based emotional and mental health support to people on their reproductive journey through pregnancy, the postpartum period, and loss. With over 400 experienced advocates nationwide, Poppy Seed ensures that eligible members do not have to navigate their reproductive journey alone. These advocates are equipped to provide compassionate support, ensuring no question goes unanswered and no concern is left unaddressed.
Poppy Seed Health is a covered offering for fully insured commercial members at Mass General Brigham Health Plan. Eligible members can enroll now. Mass General Brigham Health Plan members can also find more resources on our Behavioral Health page.