Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy are likely to cause long-term, post-traumatic stress in women, according to a new study.
Researchers found that one in every six women who have experienced ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage suffer long-term, post-traumatic stress.
The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology this month, was aimed at looking into the psychological impact of early-stage pregnancy loss — defined as pregnancy loss before 12 weeks.
More than 650 women who had suffered an early pregnancy loss were studied by researchers from Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium.
The researchers found that nearly 30 per cent of women suffered post-traumatic stress while another 24 per cent experienced moderate to severe anxiety and 11 per cent had moderate to severe depression one month after the pregnancy loss. Nine months later, 18 per cent of women had post-traumatic stress, 17 per cent moderate to severe anxiety, and six per cent had moderate to severe depression.
The research team has called for “immediate improvements in the care women receive following an early-stage pregnancy loss”.
Prof Tom Bourne, the study’s lead author Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Imperial College London, said their research suggested the loss of a longed-for child can leave a lasting legacy, and result in a woman still suffering post-traumatic stress nearly a year after her pregnancy loss.
“The treatment women receive following early pregnancy loss must change to reflect its psychological impact. Recent efforts to encourage people to talk more openly about this are a step in the right direction” said Prof Bourne.