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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 28 September 2021

Have you ever kept a pregnancy hidden? You're not alone

And TCD’s School of Nursing and Midwifery wants to hear from women who have.

WOMEN HIDING THEIR pregnancies is not a “thing of the past” according to midwifery experts at Trinity College Dublin.

They are asking women who have concealed their pregnancies to come forward and talk.

TCD’s School of Nursing and Midwifery says that about 1 in 403 pregnancies in rural Ireland is concealed up to 20 weeks with about 1 in 625 cases in Dublin.

Other research by NUI Galway has found the prevalence rate even higher at 1 in 148 cases.

“Many women and children suffered in the past from their experiences of mother and baby homes and other negative societal and familial responses to pregnancy,” says TCD’s Sylvia Murphy Tighe.

However, women are still keeping pregnancies secret in Ireland today and we need to get an understanding of the complex reasons behind this phenomenon so that we can respond more effectively.

The main health concern with concealing pregnancies is that it can lead to delayed antenatal care or even a situation where the pregnant woman receives no such care at all.

The researchers say that far from concealed pregnancies being a problem solely among teenagers as the perception might be, “midwives, social workers and GPs have confirmed that women of all ages, including older women and women within and outside of relationships may keep their pregnancy secret.”

“The reasons for concealment vary widely and can include financial concerns, cultural and/or religious influences, power and dynamics in the relationship, domestic abuse, the lack of a partner or boyfriend, parental opinion and age,” Murphy Tighe continued.

The study aims to better the response to concealed pregnancies and as such the school wants to hear, in confidence, the experiences of women who have done so for whatever reason.

Sylvia Murphy Tighe can be contacted by email at smurphyt@tcd.ie or call/text 087-9817340. 

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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