A new study has been making the news headlines this week, which investigated the effect that losing a pregnancy can have on women’s mental health. Farren et al (2019) found that one in six women who miscarry experience long term symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
What is PTSD?
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in people who experience or witness traumatic events (DSM-5, 2013).
People with PTSD have intense, upsetting thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic event, which can last long after the event occurred. They also often relive the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares.
What did the study find?
The recently published study by Imperial College London asked participants to complete questionnaires about their emotional state over the year.
Of the 650 women participating in the study:
- 29% showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress one month after pregnancy loss
- 24% had symptoms of anxiety one month after pregnancy loss
- 11% had symptoms of depression one month after pregnancy loss
From the results of the study, researchers have recommended that women who have miscarried are further screened by healthcare professions, to assess their risk of psychological problems. This could facilitate women accessing the counselling and support they need.
Specialist therapies such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy and eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)can help treat symptoms of PTSD and should be made more accessible to women after loss of a baby (Farren et al. 2019).
The researchers highlight that we should strive to provide better access and improve the services available to women who have miscarried and with this study making headline news, they hope to facilitate change in miscarriage treatment and aftercare.
If you have experienced trauma, or have any other mental well being concerns, The Eaves has fully qualified practitioners trained in EMDR and trauma-focused CBT with immediate availability to help. Please contact us via our enquiry form or call 01483 917000 and a member of the referrals team would be happy to find the appropriate therapist for you.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
Farren, J., Jalmbrant, M., Falconieri, N., Mitchell-Jones, N., Bobdiwala, S., Maya, A. M., … & Bourne, T. (2019). Post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression following miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy: a multi-center, prospective, cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.