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Psychologic Aspects of Early Pregnancy Loss

CARTER, DIANA MD, FRCPC* †; MISRI, SHAILA MD, FRCPC* † ‡; TOMFOHR, LIANNE BA

Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31802f1d28
First Trimester Pregnancy Complications
Abstract

Early pregnancy loss is a complicated psychologic event that occurs in 12% to 24% of recognized pregnancies. Women who have experienced miscarriage often have common bereavement reactions and while the intensity and experience of these reactions diminishes over time for most women, a substantial minority will develop long-term psychiatric consequences. Depression, symptoms of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder are the most commonly reported psychologic reactions to miscarriage. The course and impact of these disorders on a grieving mother and her partner are discussed and treatment recommendations are made. The psychologic effects of therapeutic abortion are also be briefly discussed.

Author Information

Departments of *Psychiatry

Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Reproductive Mental Health Programs, St Paul's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence: Diana Carter, MD, FRCPC, Reproductive Mental Health Program, BC Women's Hospital and Health Care Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, H214-500 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3N1. E-mail: dcarter@cw.bc.ca

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.