Women would experience high levels of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression after losing an early pregnancy, finds study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers underline the importance of psychological care.
The miscarriages are frequent because they concern nearlyone in five pregnancies and especially those said “early” that is to say occurring during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, the fact that they affect many women does not diminish the psychological consequences. In fact, in a study published in December 2019 in theAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and KU Leuven University in Belgium are warning about the need for psychological care of patients.
1 in 3 women suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after a miscarriage
This is the largest study published to date to assess post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression in women following a early pregnancy loss. She was interested in the case of 650 women who lost their babies – most of them during the first 3 months of pregnancy or following an ectopic pregnancy. They asked them about their emotions and behaviors through a questionnaire sent one, three and nine months after their miscarriage and compared their responses to those of 171 women who had had a viable pregnancy. However, one month after their miscarriage, 29% found themselves in a state of post-traumatic stress, 24% had severe anxiety, and 1 in 10 women suffered from depression. Nine months later, 18% were still showing symptoms of a post-traumatic stress, 17% anxiety 6% depression.
Nightmares, flashbacks and uncontrollable thoughts. As for symptoms, in addition to the sadness and frustration linked to this tragic event, women reported having nightmares, having flashbacks and uncontrollable dark thoughts about their miscarriage, and also avoiding anything that could remind them of this. painful episode. A state which would therefore decrease over time without however completely disappearing.
Better psychological care after a miscarriage
According to the researchers, this post-traumatic stress caused by a miscarriage can have a significant impact on work, social interaction, the use of health care and risks in future pregnancies. It is therefore an important public health problem requiring clinical management (support or / and treatment) to help the woman to recover better psychologically from this early pregnancy loss. In addition, Professor Tom Bourne, lead author of the research said in a press release from Imperial College London: “Pregnancy loss affects up to one in two women, and for many women, it will be the most traumatic event of their lives. This research suggests that the loss of a long-awaited child can leave a lasting legacy and leave a woman still suffering from PTSD almost a year after her pregnancy. “
Also, even if he welcomes recent efforts to encourage people to speak more openly about this very common problem, he says that the treatment that women currently receive after an early pregnancy loss should be better supported psychologically. Especially in those with significant post-traumatic stress symptoms. To achieve this, Professor Bourne suggests a routine screening of women after miscarriage so you can identify those who need help the most.