Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy may trigger long-term PTSD, study says

A new study has found that women who suffer a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy are likely to experience long-term post traumatic stress.

The study, which is the largest of its kind, was conducted by Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium.

The scientists found that concerning numbers of women are suffering from PTSD after suffering a loss due to miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

They studied over 650 women who experienced an early pregnancy loss and nearly one third of the participants (29 percent) suffered from post-traumatic stress a month after their loss.

24 percent experienced moderate to severe anxiety and a further 11 percent suffered from moderate to severe depression.

Nine months on from the pregnancy loss, the team discovered that 18 percent of women had PTSD, 17 percent had severe anxiety and six percent had moderate to severe depression.

The team stressed that women need more support following early pregnancy loss as it is having a severely negative impact on their mental health. They stated that immediate improvements need to be made in caring for women after miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. 

Professor Tom Bourne commented on the findings: “Pregnancy loss affects up to one in two women, and for many women it will be the most traumatic event in their life. This research suggests 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.”

Women deserve the best support and care available after suffering such tragic losses, especially with one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

Changes must be made to the care they are given as it simply isn’t enough. The mental effects of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies are harrowing. 

As Professor Bourne stated, “The treatment women receive following early pregnancy loss must change to reflect its psychological impact.”

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