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Conception Feb 11, 2020
4 Minutes

Miscarriage: it’s ok not to feel ‘ok’ in fact, the science now tells us so…

Unfortunately, miscarriage is not uncommon. In fact, it can impact up to one in two women at some point in their lifetime. Particularly as we are having children later in life. However, just because it is common does not mean that it is ok. In fact, a pioneering piece of research that we will discuss below, looks at the very real toll something like this can have on your emotional health and wellbeing. It is almost an open letter to healthcare professionals and to people who experience miscarriage underlining the potentially significant impact on mental health. Bottom line: it is not something to underestimate. So, if you’re feeling bad, you’re not alone and you may need help. But, that’s ok and with help and support it will get better in time.  

Some pretty hard hitting facts about the mental health impact of miscarriage: why you are not alone… 

In the United Kingdom alone there are around 250,000 miscarriages and 10,000 ectopic pregnancies each year. In fact, early pregnancy losses affect up to 1 in 2 women in their lifetime. Up until now the psychological impact has not really been studied. Despite the fact that for many women an early pregnancy loss ‘will be the most traumatic event that has happened in their lives’. This is the largest study published to date. 

Nearly 30% of women met criteria suggestive of PTSD: 

The research published in the prestigious journal: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology suggested that as many as 30% of women who had suffered miscarriage met the criteria suggestive of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Not insignificant!

It went on to say that 24% experienced moderate-severe anxiety and 11% moderate-severe depression.

So, the key message once again is that this can take a very significant mental toll and even if the loss is early into the pregnancy. It should not be underestimated. The key thing to remember is that how you feel is to be expected, you are not alone. It also suggests that if you’re not feeling ok you should seek proper help. You do not have to do this on your own.

The good news… yes, there is some! 

The positive is that the research showed that it does decline over time. However, it does often take a bit of time for this, with research showing that it can still linger as much as 9 months following. So be gentle with yourself, don’t expect to feel great straight away, but, it will get easier.

You may also need some extra support for your next pregnancy…. 

The study showed that (understandably) anxiety and depression have also been demonstrated in subsequent pregnancies. In fact, there is almost double the chance of experiencing sadness, low mood and excessive worry compared to those women without previous loss.

Click here for Claire Holt’s story on her experience of miscarriage, her following pregnancy and the tools she used to cope. 

So: once again, you may need some additional help and it is more than ok to ask: 

The research – if you want to read for yourself click here – left with a poignant line as a conclusion to this study:

’Our clinical management must be more sensitive to the psychological implications of early pregnancy loss. Women often experience long waiting times for review or treatment and insensitive communication or treatment.’

If you do not feel like your care is up to scratch, speak up.

Key takeaway when it comes to miscarriage: 

You are allowed to feel how you feel. In fact, it is ‘normal’ if you are feeling very low. You are not alone. Speak up and ask for help, support or kind treatment. What you’re experiencing is very real.

To read about Claire Holt’s own journey through miscarriage, anxiety and then postnatal depression, what she learnt and how she coped. Click here. 

For more from our resident mental health expert who specialises in women’s mental health Emmy Brunner – click here. 

Finally – if you are experiencing recurrent miscarriage you may want to check out our conversation with a pioneer in the field of treatment for miscarriage Dr Hassan Shehata. Click here. 

Please do ask for help. There are people out there who feel how you do and who understand. You deserve it. If you want to reach out to a professional please call or email The Recover Clinic and they can help or put you in touch with someone who can give you some support. Do not be afraid to ask for help:

Miscarriage

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This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

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