In December 2019 researchers from the UK, Belgium and The Netherlands published the results of their study to assess levels of post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety in women in the nine months following early pregnancy loss, with a focus on miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. A total of 737 women with early pregnancy loss (including 537 miscarriages and 116 ectopic pregnancies) were emailed surveys containing standardised psychological assessments at one, three and nine months following their loss, with 492 (67%) completing the survey after one month, 426 (58%) after three months, and 338 (46%) after nine months. A control group of 171 women were also assessed folowing a dating scan. Results showed that 29% of women with early pregnancy loss met the criteria for post-traumatic stress after one month and 18% after nine months. Moderate/severe anxiety was reported in 24% after one month and in 17% after nine months whilst moderate/severe depression was reported in 11% after one month, and 6% after nine months. Nine months following a miscarriage, 17% of women met the criteria for post-traumatic stress, 17% for anxiety and 5% for depression whilst for an ectopic pregnancy 21% met the criteria for post-traumatic stress, 23% for anxiety and 11% for depression. In contrast, among women with viable pregnancies, 13% reported moderate to severe anxiety and 2% moderate to severe depression. The researchers therefore concluded that women experience high levels of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression after early pregnancy loss. Distress declines over time but remains at clinically important levels at nine months.
Farren J et al. Posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depression following miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy: a multi-center, prospective, cohort study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Dec 13. pii: S0002-9378(19)31369-9.