Many women experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a miscarriage
A miscarriage is always a terrible experience for the family. Women are particularly affected by such an event. Researchers have now found that miscarriage in women can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In their investigation, scientists from Imperial College London found that miscarriages or so-called ectopic pregnancies increase the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder in women. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.
Almost half of the women affected suffer from PTSD after three months
Almost four out of ten women meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) three months after losing a pregnancy, the experts from Imperial College London explain.
Participants had to answer questions about feelings and thoughts about miscarriage
Over 110 women participated in the current study. The participants had to fill out questionnaires about their thoughts and feelings after losing their baby. All women had previously visited Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in West London because of pain or bleeding. Almost half of these women had a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, the doctors say in their study.
Effects of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies
In the study, most women miscarried, while one-fifth had an ectopic pregnancy in which the fertilized egg grew outside the uterus, the experts explain. If the women had miscarried, 45 percent of those affected showed the symptoms of PTSD after three months. About 18 percent of the ectopic pregnancy group also experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.
Many women suffer from nightmares after losing their pregnancy
Women with PTSD reported regular recurring feelings related to the loss of pregnancy. Some women have had repeated nightmares or flashbacks. Many women also avoided contact with other pregnant family members or friends, the authors explain.
Surprisingly many women suffer from PTSD after an early pregnancy loss
Almost a third of the women examined said that the symptoms also affected their work. The relationship was also impaired in about 40 percent of women. We were surprised at the high number of women who experienced symptoms of PTSD after early pregnancy loss, explains author Dr. Jessica Farren.
PTSD has a strong impact on all aspects of everyday life
There is currently no routine follow-up on women who have had a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. While there are controls for postnatal depression, there are no studies on the occurrence of trauma and depression after a pregnancy loss, the experts explain. However, the symptoms that are triggered can have a profound impact on all aspects of a woman's everyday life, from her work to her relationships with friends and family.
Common mistake: women do not speak openly about early pregnancy loss
Many couples in today's society don't tell anyone about pregnancy within the first twelve weeks. If such couples experience a miscarriage, they usually do not speak to other people about it. This can lead to the fact that the deep psychological effects of early pregnancy loss are not discussed openly but swept under the carpet, the doctors add.
Further research is urgently needed
Not all women who experience miscarriage or fallopian tube pregnancy develop PTSD or anxiety and depression afterwards, explains author Tom Bourne. Therefore, it is now necessary to investigate why some women are at greater risk than other people affected. The results of the current study were also published in the "BMJ Open" journal. (as)